Rugby World Cup 2015: A Huge Social Media Success

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Rugby World Cup 2015: A Huge Social Media Success


With the Rugby World Cup now done, and New Zealand stealing the show, it is time to evaluate the tournament’s impact on social media, keeping in mind that this tournament has been dubbed the ‘most successful ever’ after an explosion of interest on Twitter. 2015’s World Cup smashed 2011’s 1.9 million posts record quickly, and interest on social media began to rise quickly after a shock defeat for South Africa at the hands of Japan in the group stages.

Using Synthesio’s Social Intelligence platform, I was able to view sentiment trends, timeline analysis and volume trends that occurred during the Rugby World Cup final.

After four years of preparation, the largest moment in the players’ careers began with giants New Zealand and Australia taking centre stage. The most talked about World Cup ever finished 34-17 for New Zealand, the All Black’s 3rd Webb Ellis Trophy triumph and the first team to retain their title.

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Veteran teammates of the 2011 World Cup, Dan Carter and Richie McCaw drove the most buzz on social media as the stand out performers on the day. On their last bow in International Rugby, Carter received Man of the Match for his superb kicking display, earning 19 of the All Black’s 34 points. McCaw’s aggressive captaincy earned him the second most share of voice (SOV) with 14.3%.

As World Cup finals go, this one certainly did not follow suit with five tries, one being a 50m solo effort from New Zealand back Ma’a Nonu, which was widely applauded on social media gaining him almost 12% of the overall SOV.

2015’s World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year Nehe Milner-Skudder received 7.8% of the SOV largely due to his try just before the break. Milner-Skudder proved to be a popular figure on social media with a high level of positive sentiment as well. Speaking of sentiment, despite not being among the top 5 in SOV, it was All Black Sonny Bill who received the largest amount of positive sentiment after giving his medal to a 15-year-old fan.

Beaten, battered and bruised Australian flanker, David Pocock was fifth on the bill with 6.8%, a total predominantly claimed from an alleged stamp on All Black’s captain, Richie McCaw. While he may not have won a medal, Pocock is still in the running for many prestigious Rugby Union awards and was supported by heaps of Twitter users.

Throughout the course of Saturday’s World Cup Final, Synthesio captured data focusing on the #RWC2015 campaign as well as topics on Sponsors, Ambassadors and Teams. By analysing Synthesio’s volume timeline, I was able to determine whether the key points in the match were backed up by an influx of posts on social media.

There were obvious talking points in the match, with the major peaks coming from tries in the second half as New Zealand got in touching distance of the trophy. Point scoring aside, one of the most controversial moments in the game was during the 1st half, when Wallabie’s Pocock accidentally stood on the head of Richie McCaw. This was the spark that inevitably set off opinions from both sets of fans, as the Australian core believed it was a mistake, while New Zealand fans claimed that this was a deliberate stamp on their Captain, in order to stop him from playing.

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The last peak of the day came as New Zealand secured the victory over Australia to win the Webb Ellis Trophy for a record 3rd time. Users on all social media platforms congratulated the All Blacks on their sterling win.


Favourites New Zealand gave the Twickenham crowd one last ‘Haka’ as legends of the game, Carter and McCaw bid a tearful farewell.

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