A record breaking number of people watched Ireland play Italy on TV3 yesterday

Keith Earls celebrates scoring Ireland's only try
Keith Earls celebrates scoring Ireland's only try

An incredible 1.38 million tuned in to see Ireland beat Italy yesterday.

The match averaged 956,600 viewers, which is the highest ratings ever achieved by TV3.  

The Ireland v Italy game peaked at 1.18 million viewers in the final minutes, representing over 70 per cent of the available viewing population at the time.

When you consider the game clashed with another high profile match, Arsenal v Manchester United in the Premier League, it is a testament to how popular the Irish rugby team is right now.

The game, whch was far from a classic, secured Joe Schmidt's side passage to the the quarter finals of the tournament.

One team who didn't manage that are hosts England and their defeat on Saturday night that sealed their fate, a 33-13 loss to Australia, was watched by 685,800 average viewers, 42 per cent of the adult audience share.