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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 October 2007, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
World Cup attracts 15.8m viewers
England rugby fans
Millions of fans watched the match in local pubs
England's defeat to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup dominated Saturday's TV viewing, with audience figures peaking at 15.8m towards the final whistle.

According to overnight figures an average of 12.8m people tuned in to ITV1 to watch the match at the Stade de France in Paris.

Figures do not include the millions of people who packed into pubs to watch the game from there.

South Africa took the title after winning 15-6.

Ben Cohen, who was part of the 2003 World Cup-winning squad, said England's dramatic tournament would benefit the sport.

"It is good for English rugby," he said. "We've got people watching the game again, supporting the team again and interested in rugby again, and that has got to be a good thing."

Fans descended upon the Eiffel Tower where a screen was erected for the game and in the UK, 5,000 fans travelled to London's O2 Arena where the match was also shown.

Ratings for BBC One suffered slightly with only 4.7m people tuning in to watch the latest episode of Casualty.

Last week, the show drew in an average audience of 5.4m.

Audience figures for the weekly National Lottery show were also significantly lower than normal.



SEE ALSO
England 6-15 South Africa
20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
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20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
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20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union

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