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It can be hard to know where to watch rugby on TV — especially in the US. Read on to learn how to watch wherever you live!
In a hurry? If you live in the US, you have a couple of good ways to watch rugby without cable:
- FloRugby: This general sports streaming service offers especially good support for rugby!
- Peacock: Offers some of the biggest events in rugby including the Six Nations.
- Fubo: Get 130+ channels including NBC and Fox. Fubo allows you to try out its service with a free trial.
Table Of Contents
Rugby is a sport that is already immensely popular in certain parts of the world and is starting to gain traction in countries such as the United States and Canada. As a result, interest in streaming rugby matches is significant/increasing.
There are different rugby variants played worldwide. Although there are numerous types, three receive the most interest and are played by men and women at World Cups with one of the variants also contested at the Summer Olympics.
Rugby union is the most known form of rugby. It involves 15 players on the field for a team at any given time with tries worth five points, conversions two, and drop goals and penalties three apiece.
This is also the version that is played at the Rugby World Cup, which has been contested since 1987.
Rugby league is also widely played, particularly in northern England and Sydney. Its major rule differences are that it involves 13 players for a team at a time, tries counting for four points, and drop goals and penalties adding one and two points, respectively, to a team’s tally. Conversions are worth two points, same as in rugby union.
The Rugby League World Cup predates the Rugby World Cup by a ways, having been first contested in 1954.
With both rugby union and rugby league national team competitions tending to last weeks with several days between matches, the International Olympic Committee wanted to use a different variant during the Olympics’ relatively short duration.
As a result, rugby sevens has been contested at the Games since 2016. Teams play these 14-minute games multiple times a day. Point scoring is the same as rugby union.
Rugby sevens is contested at the Rugby World Cup Sevens as well.
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Both men and women take part in Rugby World Cups, Rugby League World Cups, Rugby World Cup Sevens, and the Olympics. All eight of those competitions are scheduled in four-year intervals.
The Rugby World Cup is the most-watched as it is generally held to be the world’s third most popular sports event, trailing soccer‘s World Cup and the Olympics as a whole. With that said, all of them garner widespread interest.
However, those are not the only international rugby competitions of interest.
Another rugby union competition of note is the Six Nations, which is comprised of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, and Italy. Large crowds pack the stadiums hosting those contests. In 2019, the Six Nations’ average attendance was 65,008. Both men’s and women’s Six Nations competitions are contested annually.
The Rugby Championship is a top rugby union competition as well. It features the top men’s national teams in the Southern Hemisphere: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Argentina.
When the best players are not representing their countries, they are helping lead their clubs to success.
In rugby union, some of the top competitions are Premiership Rugby (England), Top 14 (France), and Super Rugby (Southern Hemisphere, focused on Oceania in 2022). Another one of note is the European Rugby Champions Cup, which features the top teams from England, France, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Also, promoters in the US and Canada launched Major League Rugby in 2018.
Meanwhile, top club competitions in rugby league include the Super League (England and France) and National Rugby League (Australia and New Zealand).
Fan interest in club rugby sevens competitions is low as most instead focus on watching national teams play this version of the sport.
Given how broad rugby is in terms of types of games and leagues, it shouldn’t be too surprising that the sport is spread out over a large array of TV stations and streaming services. But without too much work, you can get access to a lot of rugby.
Rugby matches can be watched on a variety of channels in the US, depending on the competition.
NBC owns the rights to the Rugby World Cups and Rugby Sevens World Cups. It has shown some games on its flagship network while its family of networks has broadcast rugby sevens matches at the Olympics.
NBC also has the rights to Premiership Rugby in the US. Meanwhile, US-based fans looking for their domestic competition (Major League Rugby) should head to Fox, Fox Sports 1 (FS1), and Fox Sports 2 (FS2).
Three streaming services provide the bulk of rugby content to US-based fans.
- Peacock Premium ($4.99/mo): Offers a significant amount of prestigious rugby content. This includes Rugby World Cup and Rugby World Cup Sevens matches, World Rugby Sevens Series, Olympic rugby sevens games, Six Nations matchups, and games from the European Rugby Champions Cup and Premiership Rugby. (Peacock review)
- FloSports/FloRugby ($29.99/mo): Has been steadily increasing the rugby programming that it offers. This includes the Autumn Nations Series, Six Nations 20s, Women’s Six Nations, Rugby Europe Championships, Super Rugby, Currie Cup, Bledisloe Cup, Rugby Championship, and US college matches. Several US national team games, including World Cup qualifiers, are shown on FloRugby as well. (FloSports review)
- The Rugby Network (free): Streams Major League Rugby, which consists of 13 sides in the US and Canada. The only national blackouts for those in the US are Fox-related broadcasts while Toronto Arrows games are blacked out throughout Canada. Also note that matches broadcast locally may be blacked out from viewing on The Rugby Network. US college matches are available here as well.
- Watch NRL ($39AUD): Provides everyone not in Oceania with access to National Rugby League matches.
Streaming NBC and Fox
You may want to secure access to multi-channel streaming services that offer NBC and Fox and their related channels. Fox, FS1, and FS2 are necessary to watch some Major League Rugby matches while NBC has shown Rugby World Cup finals, US matches, and other rugby contests in the past. With that said, NBC will probably simulcast games that it broadcasts on Peacock as well.
If you want to gain access to NBC, Fox, FS1, and FS2, options include:
- Fubo ($74.99/mo): Get 130+ channels including all the above.
- DIRECTV STREAM ($79.99/mo): Get ~80 channels but you will need to upgrade to get FS2.
- Sling TV ($40.00/mo): Get 40+ channels but you need to upgrade to get FS2.
- Hulu + Live TV ($76.99/mo): Get 85+ channels, ESPN+, and all the channels above.
- Vidgo ($69.99/mo): Get 110+ channels but doesn’t include any of NBCUniversal.
- YouTube TV ($72.99/mo): Get 85+ channels including all of the above.
Unsurprisingly, how you can stream rugby varies significantly depending on which country you are in and which type of competition you want to watch.
Common non-US options include Sky Sport Now (United Kingdom and Ireland), ITV/STV/UTV (UK), BBC iPlayer (UK), RTE Player (Republic of Ireland), Stan Sport (Australia), and a general sports service (Canada and various other countries).
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Devices to Live Stream Rugby
All the streaming services we’ve discussed offer apps for most the streaming devices in use today. These are universally supported:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android mobile
- Apple TV
- iOS devices
- LG smart TVs
- Samsung smart TVs
- VIZIO Smartcast TVs.
Peacock supports gaming systems Xbox and PlayStation. The Rugby Network has fairly limited device support. See our reviews for complete lists of devices.
The primary providers of rugby content to those based in the US are Peacock Premium ($4.99/mo) and FloRugby ($29.99/mo). The former offers events such as the Rugby World Cup, Olympics, and Six Nations while the latter provides access to the Six Nations 20s, Women’s Six Nations, Super Rugby, and Rugby Championship. In addition, plenty of domestic rugby is shown on The Rugby Network (free).
Also keep in mind that select rugby matches are broadcast on NBC and Fox and their related channels, which you can get with services like Fubo.
Which form of rugby is competed at the Olympics?
Rugby sevens is competed at the Olympics. This form of the sport consists of 14-minute games as opposed to the 80-minute affairs that rugby union players participate in. In addition, each side only plays seven players at a time instead of the 15 that is the case for rugby union contests. As a result of the shorter games, many more are played. The medalists at the Olympics play six times in three days.
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