The Rugby World Cup starts next month. It will run from the 20th of September to the final on the 2nd of November. There are two main ways to watch it and how you do it will depend on how far down this rabbit hole you want to go:
If you intend to watch every single match live, even those with nary a black jumper to be seen, then your best bet is Spark Streaming; here’s where to buy a Tournament Pass. If you purchase this before the 10th of September it will cost $79.99. You’ll need a Spark Sport Account to do this and you’ll need the appropriate tech – check out this article. Basically you’re going to need a very good internet connection to view them reliably. Fibre is obviously best and rural customers may be out of luck. You can watch it on your smart TV, or on your PC, laptop, tablet or phone. Or you can connect one of these devices to your non-smart TV using Apple TV or a Chromecast. Here is the Spark Sport Website to log in and watch the games once you have your tournament pass.
However, if you’re only really interested in watching the All Blacks and don’t mind a one-hour delay on the pool games and quarter final, then you can just watch for free on TVNZ1. That one-hour delay will be somewhat annoying because some of the games are on reasonably late (and live is always more exciting). Here’s the schedule for the pool games and the quarters and semis which I have determined based on the unabashed assumption that we will win all of the preliminary games. One thing to note here is that you cannot stream from TVNZ on Demand like you usually can for other things, so if you don’t have regular old TV (like me, unfortunately) you’re options are to get it, or pay for a Tournament Pass from Spark Sport.
- Pool Game: NZ vs South Africa, Date: Saturday the 21st of September, Our Time Live: 9:45pm, Our Time Delayed: 10:45pm
- Pool Game: NZ vs Canada, Date: Wednesday the 2nd of October, Our Time Live: 11:15pm, Our Time Delayed: 12:15am
- Pool Game: NZ vs Namibia, Date: Sunday the 6th of October, Our Time Live: 5:45pm, Our Time Delayed: 6:45pm
- Pool Game: NZ vs Italy, Date: Saturday the 12th of October, Our Time Live: 5:45pm, Our Time Delayed: 6:45pm
- Quarter Final: NZ vs ?, Date: Saturday the 19th of October, Our Time Live: 11:15pm, Our Time Delayed: 12:15pm
- Semi Final: NZ vs ?, Date: Saturday the 26th of October, Our Time Live: 9:00pm
- Final: NZ vs ?, Date: Saturday the 2nd of November, Our Time Live: 8:00pm
So as you can see there, the last two games I’ve assumed we’ll be playing in are live and free, in fact all of the semi finals and the bronze final will be as well. The rub is going to be that our pool games against South Africa and Canada, and our Quarter final are at unfortunate times, though South Africa and the Quarter Final are on Saturday nights at least.
So one option for the frugal rugby fan could be to watch the pool games free to air with the delay, buy the quarter final from Spark Sport for $24.99, then watch the rest free to air as well. I suppose it really depends on how much value you place on live rugby and sleep.
Go the ABs!!