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England’s Rugby World Cup exit gives ITV1 its biggest audience of the year

England's last minute defeat gained a bigger audience for ITV1 than Britain's Got Talent and King Charles III's coronation

England’s Rugby World Cup loss to South Africa on Saturday has surpassed Britain’s Got Talent and King Charles III’s coronation in May to become ITV1’s most-watched programme of the year.

According to the broadcaster, 8.7 million viewers watched the final moment of the semi-final match, as South Africa edged their way into the final following a late penalty giving them a 16-15 win.

From kick-off to final whistle, live coverage was watched by 7.2 million viewers and 41 per cent of the available television audience, said ITV, making it the most watched match of the tournament and the most watched rugby match since England played Scotland in the 2021 Six Nations, also shown on ITV1.

The total coverage of the semi-final was watched by 5.2 million – ITV1’s biggest overnight audience this year after Britain’s Got Talent, it said.