It was a blockbuster year for the growth of rugby union in 2015, and now it has the Google data to back it up.
NRL may be the king in New South Wales and Queensland, however, it's union that remains the heavy-hitter when it comes to the global significance of oval-ball codes.
With a population of 120 million, Japan is the latest country to fully embrace the sport. In fact, so popular has union become 'rugby' was the country's third-most Googled word in 2015 - something no doubt aided by the Cherry Blossoms' shock World Cup defeat of the Springboks.
Only 'ISIS' and 'typhoon' were more popular, according to the search engine giants.
The news will be music to the ears of World Rugby, who will stage the next World Cup there in 2019. It will also be good news for Super Rugby organisers, with a new Japanese franchise - the Sunwolves - to join the competition this year alongside Argentina outfit the Jaguares.
Japan beat South Africa by playing fast, expansive rugby under new England coach Eddie Jones. Former All Blacks and Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has been named Sunwolves coach and wants to bring the same approach to the Super Rugby team.
source by sportingnews