How Twitter Celebrated The Rugby World Cup

Jenny Force Jenny Force, VP of Marketing

The 2015 Rugby World Cup has finally reached its conclusion with New Zealand’s unstoppable All Blacks beating Australia’s Wallabies to take the title. Over the course of the six week tournament we’ve seen some amazing action, all of which has been shared by millions of Twitter users.

The first weekend’s games saw the highest volume of tweets from fans, as England took on Fiji and underdogs, Japan, stunned the world by beating South Africa, with over 670,000 tweets about the tournament. The final weekend saw the lowest overall number of tweets, with just 136,000 on October 31st.


Most of the Tweets originated from host nation, the UK, with close to 30% of the total. Internationally, South African tweeters were the largest contributors to the discussion with over 12%.


The most shared tweets of the tournament were mostly about Japan’s surprise win, but by far the most popular tweet came from a member of the boyband, One Direction, and so was bound to get a huge number of retweets from the group’s obsessive fan base.


If we look at a BuzzGraph to analyse the overall themes of the Twitter discussion we can see, unsurprisingly, that the All Blacks were at the heart of the conversation. The stronger lines between “jpn” (the hashtag used for Japan) and “springboks” (the South African team name) shows, again, that specific match was perhaps the most talked about event of the entire tournament.


Analysing the final

We did a minute by minute analysis of the Twitter chatter during the final game, shown in the chart below (click for the full size version). It’s interesting to note that throughout the game a try and conversion is usually followed by a spike in Twitter activity, while penalties and drop-goals tend not to generate many tweets. Unsurprisingly, there’s also a clear spike in activity during the half-time break, and this was probably compounded by the fact that the first try of the match was scored moments before the whistle.


The highest volume of traffic happened after the end of the game. While there was an immediate spike immediately following full time (probably from people watching the game live) there was a subsequent spike about 10 minutes later which dwarfed everything else. This coincided with major news sources reporting on the match outcome, so we suspect that at this point the news started to be shared by a much larger volume of people who were not watching the game live but still wanted to join the celebrations. And who can blame them? A great final game to wrap up another epic Rugby World Cup – only four more years until the next one.


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