Unfortunately for the game as a whole, its really hard to watch rugby for free online. However, if you know where to go, it is possible to watch full HD rugby games on the web. They’re almost never live in HD. You’re going to have to wait a couple of days. But for those of you who can stomach not looking at Facebook for 24 hours, you can use these options below to stream rugby games online.
Watching rugby on TV wasn’t always possible when I was growing up. When I hit the age where I wanted to start tuning in, the game had only recently become professional and the level of access on free-to-air TV in Australia was pretty pathetic. All you really got were the Internationals carried by Channel 7 and ABC’s coverage of what is now the Shute Shield but was then called the Sydney 1st Grade competition. When Super Rugby launched as the Super 10s in 1993, it was only ever available on Cable TV. This sucked. If you didn’t have Foxtel this meant you couldn’t watch more than about a dozen games a year at very specific times.
When we did finally get Austar and could watch Super rugby day in and day out, I took full advantage. On Tuesdays, they would show every single game from the weekend back to back. They would even cut out all the tiresome scrums and meandering commentary. For a University Student who wanted every reason not to attend Tuesday classes, it was a god-send. 6-8 hours of the best rugby in the world with no breaks and very few interruptions. Needless to say, I made sure lectures were any day but Tuesday during 2005 as the Brumbies tried to defend their Super 14 title.
But if you leave Australia, New Zealand or South Africa (the UK and France too I imagine) Rugby becomes much harder to watch. Living in Canada, I saw almost none. Now that I’ve been in the US for a few years, I’m noticing that rugby is still hard to find. There are options, yes. But they usually include around $100 / month for DirecTV. If this doesn’t seem like a big expenditure to you, checkout the DirecTV website and grab a package. But for those of you who want to be able to watch the game played at a high level without being conned into a 24 month contract, please read on and I’ll explain how I watch rugby for free online.
Live Stream Rugby
Where to go
The following are a few resources you can use to live stream rugby online. Be mindful though, these live streaming websites are constantly getting shut down and changing addresses and URLs. So if you find that one of these links takes you to a FBI Takedown page, I’m sorry for that, please Google for name and you should get to the new version of the site.
Live streaming rugby through one of these site is obviously free. Big plus, obviously. You will also get access to many more games than you would even think possible. Rather than just the Internationals, people regularly stream games from the French professional leagues, the Super 15, the Heineken Cup and even the world 7s competitions. I would say that this is your best option for the range of choices. Under 20s world cup? No problem. 6 Nations? Even easier. Not even on Pay TV in the UK would you get the same number of options. So if you wanted to watch every game of rugby on the planet, try this and you’ll come close at least.
Everything is live. With rugby played in so many different time zones, live streaming rugby like this means there’s always the chance you’ll miss a game through a a calendar-related error. This sucks and is something I messed up with just yesterday. The fact that its live also means there’s no replays. No way to stop the game, rewind and watch something again. In the US, we’ve all gotten used to this as a function of television. Streaming rugby online is a bit like going back to the good old days of broadcasting when content was only ever accessible in the moment.
Another Con is video quality. Depending on the person streaming the match, you might get a grainy picture or an unreliable feed. It’s certainly not good enough to put up on your living-room TV. If you’re watching rugby on your laptop when you should be nailing down your TPS reports, live streams will get the job done, but its not the sort of thing you can invite friends around for. The final Con has to do with the websites streaming the games. In particular First Row Sports which will have a ZILLION popup ads running constantly through the game. Is it annoying? You betcha, but I guess the content is difficult to monetize without this.
If you use a browser extension like Ad Blocker Plus, streaming can be difficult. Websites like First Row have detection software on them that will make you turn off the extension before you view their site. You can avoid this a couple of ways, the easiest is to turn off Ad Blocker like they ask and then open the stream you want in a new browser window. Next, turn the extension back on and refresh the stream URL. This should get you around most of the ads. However to avoid this altogether, I suggest Myp2p as the best alternative to First Row Sports.
DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANY SOFTWARE TO VIEW THE STREAMS!!! This is a rookie mistake. You’re going to get a stack of popups telling you your Mac is broken, there’s a virus that you need to remove etc etc. Under no circumstances should you click or download anything from these sites. Doing so is going to destroy your machine and compromise your data. Again, while you’re live streaming rugby online, do not download anything!
Watch Rugby on YouTube
Watching rugby on YouTube should be really easy. The world rugby organizations and the owners of the intellectual property are missing out on a huge amount of revenue by not making their games paid content on YouTube. I’m guessing this is because of the regional contracts with TV providers. Which makes sense but is no more useful to the average viewer. Imagine being able to buy a game for $3? or $5? or even $10 of Internationals? I would pay that in a heart beat. With 6 games a week at $3 a game, providers are missing out on huge revenue. I’m talking to you SANZAR! Wake up guys, this is where the world is heading and if you want to grow the game internationally, this is the way to go.
Where to go
This is a bit more difficult to say. Since the original content is copyrighted it gets taken down pretty damn quickly. You’ve got to admire the guys who keep uploading stuff from new YouTube accounts all the time. Give them credit, they’re committed. The problem with their videos is that they clearly don’t qualify for republication under the Fair Use terms generally applied by American courts. One reason for this is that all those providers make the mistake of monetizing the content. The result is that if you don’t get to the video within about 3 days, it’s likely taken down and won’t even show in search results. So where do you go? You’ve got to use a simple Google Search for Video. More on how I watch rugby on YouTube in the suggestions section
You’re not paying a cent for the games. If this is what matters to you, YouTube is a great option.
Since most uploaders can’t simply upload the exact content directly to YouTube, they go to great (or not so great) lengths to disguise their content with living-room frames around it in the hopes that the work is then considered to be substantially different from the original. To nerd out on copyright law for a second, this is done so that the original content can be used for free. However, since they try to then monetize the videos with YouTube’s advertising platform, it then does not qualify as Fair Use of the original material and gets taken down by the copyright owner.
When they change the material ,the uploaders reduce the size of the content on the screen. This basically means you’re watching a YouTube window that’s a 1/3 the proper size. Its annoying but not something you can really complain about since this is the course you’ve chosen and that they’re providing to you free or charge.
When you search, I recommend customizing your search parameters based on time and length of video. Here’s a screenshot of the kind of search I use to watch rugby on YouTube. Sometimes you get exactly what you want, other times you need to play with the parameters a little bit. But use them, they’re great for cutting down your search time.
Jack ‘Top Bloke’ Campbell
I hope I’m not getting the guy in trouble by calling attention to his awesome DailyMotion accounts. But, what a top dude this guy must be! Marry my sister buddy. Jack will upload a few games a week of the Super 15 and other rugby games from around the world. They’re usually broken up into 1st and 2nd half in separate files but if that bothers you, seriously take a long hard look in the mirror.
Where to go
Rugby Raw 33 – its got most of the good stuff. More on this in the suggestions.
Every game of Super Rugby, Heineken cup and 6 Nations in one place? Yup, sounds too good to be true. But its not. Jack has a formula here that really works. Videos are up quickly and you can watch them sometimes within 3-4 hours of the game finishing. As with these other options, its totally free. These factors come together to make this my favorite source for full rugby matches online.
It might go away at some point. In fact, it will almost certainly go away eventually and that could be at any minute. Be sure to Like the Facebook page and follow along in case it all comes crashing down. Also sometimes the feeds are pretty low resolution. I’ve tried to upload high-def video to the web and it takes forever so I can understand why this is. But if you’re looking to watch rugby for free online and in high-definition, this might be annoying for you.
Until I started clicking around to research this article. I hadn’t realized that Jack actually has more than 1 channel that he’s doing this on. Yes, damn right! All those games I thought he wasn’t uploading? Ohhhh they’re there. They’re just on a different Daily Motion account. Here’s a full list of all the accounts Jack is running followed by a link to his Facebook page where you can get all the games.
Since Jack knows he can’t get away with this forever, he actually has a blogspot account where you can read his action plan for when all this goodness goes away. Thanks again Jack!
Our YouTube Rugby Channel
It should be easy to watch rugby online, and hopefully these options will give you a good head start on how to do that. But if you want something a little different, you can watch rugby with me. ‘Tim Watches Rugby’ is a small side project aimed at giving American rugby fans access to high-quality rugby games with all the fat cut out.
Where to go
If you can stand to listen to my voice as a secondary commentary team, you can watch rugby online with me on our YouTube channel.
I’ve tried to replicate Tuesdays back in Australia. That is, I’ve taken the time to go through each video and fast forward through all the excess commentary. All the penalty goals are skipped over, conversions and replays as well. this makes the games faster to watch and hopefully more enjoyable.
During the games, I’ll randomly stop play to comment on what’s going on. This isn’t going to be the kind of thing everyone wants to hear. But if you’ve only recently become interested in rugby and watching it is still somewhat confusing, I highly recommend making use of this option so that you’ll get further insight into the strategies used in the game.
Watch one of the more recent games to get you going. When I first started, I could barely use the recording equipment and this meant that certain sections of the game were skipped accidentally. That’s all changed (I hope) and the videos are much more watchable now. If you love this format, please let me know in the comments section. If you hate it, no stress, I know its not going to be for everyone.
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