How to watch the 2019 Rugby World Cup

With the 2019 Rugby World Cup starting in just a matter of weeks, and the uncertainty around Spark Sports streaming platforms, Canstar Blue has compiled a comprehensive guide to help ensure you don’t face technical difficulties come game day.

In April 2018, it was announced Spark had bought the rights to air the 2019 Rugby World Cup matches, and also signed a deal with TVNZ allowing the television network to air selected games. This means there will be huge changes around where, when and how viewers can access game broadcasts compared to the last Rugby World Cup, held in 2015. It’s said that approximately 40,000 households won’t be able to stream 2019 Rugby World Cup matches due to technical requirements needed to watch the matches.


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How to watch the Rugby World Cup 2019

In order to watch the 2019 Rugby World Cup games live, you’ll need a Spark Sport account, as well as either Spark’s 2019 Rugby World Cup Tournament Pass, or a qualifying Spark broadband plan.

The Spark Sport account will cost you $19.99 per month after the seven-day free trail. If, unluckily your broadband isn’t up to speed – then you can watch 12 games, including the semi-finals and Rugby World Cup 2019 final live on free-to-air TVNZ 1.

Of the 12 matches, seven will be live while five will be delayed an hour. Alternatively, you can pop into a commercial venue such as a sports club or restaurant airing the games live.

In terms of internet speed, yours will be fast enough to stream the games if you are able to watch a video online or use a streaming site, such as Netflix, at the times games air, without any issues. Note Japan’s time zone is three-hours behind New Zealand.

You can check whether your internet is quick enough, here.

Yours must be at least 6 Mbps download speed on a mobile or at least 15 Mbps download speed on a Smart TV in order to stream.


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Once you’ve confirmed your internet speed, you can decide whether you are going to opt for the 2019 Rugby World Cup Tournament Pass or sign up to a qualifying broadband pack.

The general tournament pass is currently $89.99, while individual game passes are $24.99 each. If you have already purchased the pass and discover you’re already eligible for a pass with your broadband then don’t worry, you can request a refund from Spark.

Viewing can be done on either a Chromecast or Apple TV; smartphone or tablet; smart TV or computer. On all platforms, there is an expected 30-40 second delay, so don’t be checking social media while watching the games because you may be exposed to the dreaded spoiler.

The free Spark Sports app is useful as it’s essentially a platform allowing easy and clear access to all your Spark Sport content, including the 2019 Rugby World Cup games. One thing to note, is that the app doesn’t work on 2017 and 2018 LG televisions, nor Panasonic, Sony and Samsung models made before 2017.

Where to watch the Rugby World Cup in rural areas

Interestingly, the 2019 Rugby World Cup is playing out in the midst of the rural broadband initiative – a program initiated by Crown Infrastructure Partners which aims to improve the broadband access and speed of around 84,000 households nationwide.

This, however, isn’t set to be completed until 2022, making the options for those who live rurally limited.


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Of the 48 matches, rural viewers will be able to watch seven live on TVNZ 1 and five delayed, or selected games at commercial venues.

Recently, it was announced that Spark Sport had joined with Sky Sport to offer a deal for commercial venues.

Commercial premises can now either purchase access to a Spark Sport pop-up channel through a Sky decoder or purchase the same 2019 Rugby World Cup Tournament Pass as a consumer.

With a few not-so-straightforward options available for private viewers, Canstar Blue advises sports fans to test services prior to game day by watching other games through your Sky Sport account, or planning a visit to your local commercial venue.

With this information at hand, we hope you’re able to enjoy stress-free streaming for the 2019 Rugby World Cup – Go the AB’s.

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