Statistics and RecordsSee also: List of top rugby union players by international caps and List of top scoring international rugby union players
According to a 2011 report by the Centre for the International Business of Sport at Coventry University, there are now over four and a half million people playing rugby union or one of its variants organised by the IRB. This is an increase of 19 percent since the previous report in 2007. The report also claimed that since 2007 participation has grown by 33 percent in Africa, 22 percent in South America and 18 percent in Asia and North America.
Rugby union's premier event, the Rugby World Cup, has continued to grow since its inception in 1987. The first tournament, in which 16 teams competed for the title, was broadcast to 17 countries with an accumulated total of 230 million television viewers. Ticket sales during the pool stages and finals of the same tournament was less than a million. The 2007 World Cup was contested by 94 countries with ticket sales of 3,850,000 over the pool and final stage. The accumulated television audience for the event, then broadcast to 200 countries, was 4.2 billion.
The most capped international player from the tier 1 nations is Australian halfback George Gregan with 139 caps. While the top scoring tier 1 international player is New Zealand's Dan Carter, who has amassed 1360 points during his career. In April 2010 Lithuania broke the record of consecutive international wins previously held by New Zealand and South Africa,which was 17 consecutive wins against tier 1 nations, with their 18th win in tier 2 in a match against Serbia. The highest scoring international match between two recognised unions was Hong Kong's 164–13 victory over Singapore on 27 October 1994 While the largest winning margin of 152 points is held by two countries, Japan (a 155–3 win over Chinese Taipei) and Argentina (152–0 over Paraguay) both in 2002.
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