Over 1.4 million people tuned in for Ireland's Six Nations defeat against England on Saturday

Joe Schmidt’s men suffered a bruising defeat in the opening round of their Six Nations title defence.

It was an afternoon to forget for Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
It was an afternoon to forget for Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

IT WAS A bruising afternoon to forget at the Aviva Stadium with a 20-32 defeat at the hands of England on Saturday, but the game proved a hit with TV audiences as more than one million people tuned in to see Joe Schmidt’s side kick off their defence of the Six Nations.

Figures from Ireland’s Six Nations opener over the weekend show more than 1.4 million people watched the match, which was broadcast on Virgin Media One.

On average, 979,400 viewers watched Schmidt’s side in action at Lansdowne Road, beating last year’s Grand Slam viewing figure of 951,000 in Twickenham on St. Patrick’s Day. The game delivered an impressive average viewing share of 68 per cent.

Viewing peaked at 1.1 million within the last twenty minutes as Ireland team tried to fight back after an impressive performance from Eddie Jones’ side in Dublin.

Viewership to the opening three games averaged 524,000. This represents a growth of 51 per cent on last year’s games, while it also beats the viewership of November’s historic victory against the All Blacks on RTÉ, which peaked at 1,036,500.

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Aaron Gallagher

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