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Test rugby league blossoms with big crowd and television ratings

International Rugby League returned to London on Saturday as a crowd of 44,393 attended the International Series game between England and New Zealand at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park stadium. The game, a close fought affair that ended with New Zealand levelling the series, was also watched by almost two million people live on the BBC, making it the most watched UK sport event on television over the weekend.

It was the first time the Olympic Stadium had hosted a Rugby League game and the event clearly appealed to sports fans and event goers alike from all over the country, with notably over 60% of the stadium crowd coming from London and the South East of England.

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “The prospects for Rugby League in London have never been better. Our research suggests there are about 10m people in the UK with an interest in Rugby League and around a fifth of them reside in London and the South East.

“The potential is vast and we have to deliver a programme of events to keep those people interested and engaged. Right now, Rugby League is on the cusp of exciting times in London and following on from Saturday I am confident it will lead to other Rugby League events there over the course of 2016 and beyond.

The International Series will come to a climax on Saturday (November 14) at the DW stadium in Wigan when a sold out crowd will watch England or New Zealand crowned Series victors and winners of the Baskerville Shield.

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