16 September 2015 | Team Tamar

Rugby World Cup: Who’s keen before kick-off?

At Tamar we love all sporting events, so naturally we are very excited about the Rugby World Cup which kicks off on Friday, down the road from us at Twickenham Stadium.

In the run up to the tournament, we’ve decided to look at Google search patterns data to establish which countries’ online users were most looking forward to the Cup. In doing so, we’ve taken into account interest scores over the past 3 months to determine which nation generated the most World Cup-related queries in the run up to the tournament. We’ve excluded September data, as the timing of the tournament start means we are unable to get full data for this month.


The scores are calculated using Google trends data. For each query or topic, Google trends provides a score out of 100 for each region – the higher the score, the higher the level of interest. For the sake of our analysis, we have averaged the monthly scores over the past 3 months for each of the tournament’s participating countries, generating an overall trend score percentage.

Perhaps unsurprisingly countries where Rugby is regarded as one, of if not the most popular sport – the Oceanian nations plus South Africa – generated the highest level of interest, with Australia coming first with an average interest score of 58% over the last quarter, and Queensland the most inquisitive region. It was closely followed by South Africa (52%) and Fiji (49%).

At 7th only with a score of 43%, Ireland was the highest ranked home country closely followed by England (8th). Scotland came 9th, with Wales 11th behind Argentina. Dublin is the city where the World Cup trended the most, and as such comes out as the Rugby capital city among home nations.

As far as unexpected results, it was a little surprising to see the USA rank 5th in the final table. The fact that America has such a large number of internet users (second only to China) and a wide range of popular national sports – including American football which might appear a similar sport – made it unlikely. Yet, it seems American viewers will pay close attention to their team’s performances. Last summer’s football World Cup was widely followed in the US, so perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising to see the interest for less established sports extend to Rugby.

It was also surprising to see no data filter for Japan, which signifies the number of searches were just too low to get picked up. Japan is the world’s 4th biggest nation for internet use with an impressive penetration rate of 86%. Although Rugby is not a big sport over there, Japan have taken part in every World Cup since its creation in 1987, so one would’ve expected more hype around the tournament. Likewise, with respective levels of interest of 35% and 30%, France’s and Wales’ search data just doesn’t seem to reflect those nations’ level of interest for Rugby.

While we were able to collect trends for most nations, some of the participating countries just don’t have sufficiently widespread internet use to return data. Those include Samoa, Tonga and Namibia, all of which rank outside the world’s top 130 for internet usage.

Australia Queensland 58%
South Africa Western Cape 52%
Fiji Central Division 49%
New Zealand Hawke’s Bay 49%
USA Virginia 48%
Canada British Columbia 48%
Ireland Dublin 43%
England Twickenham 42%
Scotland Aberdeen 37%
Argentina Buenos Aires 35%
Wales Ystradgynlais 35%
Italy Lombardy 30%
France Rhone-Alpes 24%

Team Tamar