VERY few people expected the scoreline that England yielded against Samoa on Saturday afternoon.
In fact, Samoa had actually been called favourites by most bookies as well as most rugby league fans who felt that their NRL cohort of the likes of Jarome Luai and Brian To’o would be far too strong for Shaun Wane’s men.
That, however, couldn’t have been further from the truth as England blew their Group A opponents away in brilliant fashion to run out 60-6 winners.
With over 40,000 fans piling into the home of Newcastle United – St James’ Park – there was great anticipation, and that was seemingly grasped at home too with the BBC now revealing the staggering audience viewing figures for that game.
There was a peak of over 1.6 million viewers who tuned in to watch England put Samoa to the sword with crowds and viewers set to increase over the next few weeks as people’s interest seemingly piques.
England’s big win over Samoa wasn’t the only fixture broadcast on Saturday though with Australia also dismantling Fiji, 42-8.
Move forward to Sunday and there were three live World Cup fixtures with Italy shocking the tournament with a big win over Scotland.
Ireland thrashed minnows Jamaica later on in the day at Headingley before New Zealand just about overcame a stubborn Lebanon who had a man sent off.
England’s next fixture will be against France on Saturday night as Shaun Wane looks to continue the momentum from such a good win.