Rugby World Cup 2019 live stream: how to watch the semi-finals for free

Eighty minutes is all that stands between the last four nations and a place in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama, Japan next weekend.

The hosts’ journey was ended last weekend when they were beaten 26-3 by South Africa, so it’ll be the Springboks facing Wales in the second semi-final on Sunday.

Wales, for their part, vanquished memories of their galling single-point loss to France in the 2011 semi-finals by beating the same opposition by the same margin in the last eight. It was a higher scoring affair this time around, with tries from Aaron Wainwright and a late one from Ross Moriarty helping the Welsh to a 20-19 victory.

The Six Nations holders and two-times world champions will go into battle already knowing who they would face if they get to the showpiece final, with England taking on New Zealand 24 hours earlier.

Eddie Jones said England would need to improve to beat Australia in their quarter-final, and his side were at their best to beat the Wallabies 40-16.

They’ll have their work cut out in ending New Zealand’s 18-match unbeaten run in this competition, however. It stretches back to the start of the 2011 tournament, with the All Blacks winning in that year and retaining their world crown at Twickenham in 2015.

It’s set up to be enthralling race to the finish line that you won’t want to miss, so we’ve put together a guide for how you can watch all the matches live on TV, online and on the go, wherever you are in the world.

Watch the Rugby World Cup in the UK

(Image credit: ITV)

ITV is where you’ll find all the action from the World Cup if you’re situated in the UK, meaning you won’t have to pay a penny for the privilege. Its +1 channel might also be of use if you’re hoping for an extra hour in bed before the early morning starts.

As well as showing all the matches live, it also has a late-night highlights show for those of us who will be at work, asleep or otherwise engaged over the weekend.

ITV has no 4K facility, but games will be available in HD on your television or standard definition via its website and the ITV Player app.

Find out below how you can access those services even if you’re not in the UK when the quarter-final matches are taking place.

Watch the Rugby World Cup from abroad using a VPN

Trying to access ITV streams from outside the UK – if you’re on holiday or working abroad, for example – is still a problem. The service will know your location based on your IP address, and will automatically block your access – even if you’re a UK national. This will be the same if you try to access any geo-blocked stream from around the world.

So, you’ll need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to help you get around this obstacle. A VPN creates a private connection between your device and the internet, such that the servers and services you’re accessing aren’t aware of what you’re doing. All the information passing back and forth is entirely encrypted.

VPNs are as useful for banking as they are at trying to watch video content or access websites that people in your location are not supposed to do. So, whether you want to watch live rugby, enjoy another country’s Netflix library or just keep your browsing data private, then they’re well worth considering.

There are many VPN providers out there, with some more reliable and safe than others. As a rule, we’d suggest a paid-for service and would recommend the following:

ExpressVPN

You can get three months free when you sign up to a year-long plan, bringing VPN access to smart devices including the Amazon Fire TV Stick, laptops, TVs and both Android and iOS mobiles and tablets. Express also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

NordVPN

Which comes in at as little as $2.99 (£2.29) per month and features 24/7 assistance

Once you’ve made your choice, all you need to do is sign in to your VPN service through whichever device you’d like to use to watch the match. When prompted to select a server, you need to pick one which is based in the country whose content you’d like to access. Then navigate to the relevant video streaming app or website and you’re in.

You can find a full list of the world’s broadcasters with rights to show live Rugby World Cup matches here.

Watch the Rugby World Cup in the USA

(Image credit: NBC Sports)

Exclusive rights to show the Rugby World Cup in the USA belong to NBC Sports Gold, which offered a pass to stream all 48 live matches across the tournament, commercial-free, for $199.99. A single match pass otherwise costs $29.99, which makes more sense now there are only four games to go.

NBC also offers an all-access premium pass for $79.99, which doesn’t include the World Cup but unlocks a whole season’s worth of action outside this tournament, including the Six Nations and Rugby League Premiership. 

You can choose your NBC Sports Gold Rugby World Cup pass here.

If you’re going to be out of the country over the next couple of weeks, you can still use your pass with a VPN. See our above section to find out how to access geo-blocked streams.

Knockout stage fixtures

All times shown are BST.

Semi-finals

England vs New Zealand, 9.00am – Saturday 26th

Wales vs South Africa, 9.00am – Sunday 27th

Third-place play-off

Loser semi-final 1 vs Loser semi-final 2, 9.00am – Friday 1st

Final

Winner semi-final 1 vs Winner semi-final 2, 9.00am – Saturday 2nd