TV/Internet Game Listings in Canada

How to watch Rugby this weekend

The Six Nations got off to a thrilling start in the first two rounds, despite the empty stadiums once more and the ominous cloud of COVID-19 which still hangs over proceedings, but the authorities seem to have the right protocols in place and the tournament looks set to go according to plan. This weekend’s matches have unfortunately been thrown a curveball after some of the French squad have tested positive for COVID 19. The authorities have now given the final say that the match between France and Scotland will have to be postponed. The other two matches on Saturday between England and Wales and Ireland and Italy are not in jeopardy.

DAZN has the rights again this year here in Canada, listings below. We’ll be back tomorrow with our look ahead to the action once the team sheets for the weekend’s matches start coming out.

The new European Champions Cup competition pool stages in a slightly revised format has now been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The knockout stages will take place as planned after the Six Nations, however, it’s hard to not regard the whole thing as a bit of a farce. Watching it in Canada in years gone by has been fairly straightforward on Sportsnet World or in the last few years DAZN. However, it would appear that neither have bid for the rights this year. However, all is not lost for us here in the frozen North. You can watch the all the games on a weekend pass directly through EPC’s website here in Canada, the only catch is that you have to watch them live, as at the moment they are not slated to be on demand, (though apparently there is a rumor they will be once the tournament gets underway). Also the UK’s Channel 4 has some of the games, and France 2 tv has the French games on their website for those bilingual types among us. In the meantime see below how to access games that we can get.

Six Nations

As mentioned above a COVID 19 cloud does over this weekend’s match on Sunday between Scotland and France in Paris, and we now have final confirmation it will be postponed. Meanwhile England travel to Cardiff on Saturday, and Ireland make the long trek to Rome. England will know they are up against it in dealing with a Welsh side riding the wave of confidence brought about by their two victories in the opening rounds of the competition. Wales are always a difficult side to break down especially at home, and England are not exactly a side oozing confidence at the moment. Can Wales keep their Grand Slam dreams alive? Who would have thought we’d even be mentioning such a possibility this year? Consequently we should be in for a humdinger.

Ireland having lost both their opening matches know they need to come away from Rome with an emphatic win and maximum points haul in order to salvage some credibility. Italy have also lost both their matches, but you’d have to say look the more enterprising in attack of the two sides, even if their finishing skills are somewhat lacking. We very much doubt this is going to be a dead rubber and could turn out to be one of the best games of the weekend, with both sides having everything to prove.

THE game to watch this weekend would have been Scotland’s tentative clash with France this Sunday in Paris. Scotland will feel gutted that Wales managed to derail their Grand Slam party and a trip to France is never really the kind of comeback opportunity you’d wish for to get your Six Nations campaign back on track, especially as Scotland are likely to be without at least ten key players whenever the match is rescheduled. These two are the most exciting teams to watch this year by a country mile and this postponement is a bitter blow. All three matches are on DAZN:

Italy vs Ireland – Saturday, February 27th – 9:15 AM (Eastern) – DAZN (Live and on demand)

Wales vs England – Saturday, February 27th – 11:45 AM (Eastern) – DAZN (Live and on demand)

France vs Scotland (postponed) – TBA – DAZN (Live and on demand)

DAZN still has you fully covered – live and on demand. See the link below on how to subscribe. It’s $20 a month and all content is live and on demand in either the full match entirety or a highlights version. They have the rights to the 2021 tournament.

https://www.dazn.com/en-CA/l/sports/

With a VPN provider, you can also access ITV and BBC who will be covering the remaining games of this year’s postponed Six Nations between them, and we have watched some games in the past through this method. See info below on how to access this.

To watch matches on ITV, so time to fire up that trusty VPN (Nord VPN works best for us). Step 1 go to your VPN and log into a UK server. Step 2 access the ITV website:

https://www.itv.com/

Step 3 register an account. You will need a UK postcode to do this (you’ll also need one for the BBC). You don’t need the full address, just a postcode (just randomly google search a UK address, preferably not someone’s private address) if you use a Canadian postcode you won’t be able to access anything. Once done, sign in and you’re all set. Some programmes are available on demand (but sometimes can take up to 24 hours to appear, especially sports programmes). Also although there is the option to cast to your TV unless your Chromecast is also connected to the VPN you won’t be able to watch it. I believe for some of you tekkie types there is a workaround for this, but if you have an HDMI cable just hook it up to your laptop and away you go works fine for us.

Some of you have asked how you access the on demand content, as when you go to shows you often won’t see the games until at least a day afterwards. The games are available almost straight away on demand – simply go to the guide and the time slot that the game was shown at and double click on it and it should start playing.

To watch matches on BBC the process is much the same. Log onto a UK server through a VPN. Next access the BBC website where you will have register an account:

https://account.bbc.com/

Register an account and obviously list your country as the United Kingdom and not Canada. If it requires a UK address, then Google some random UK address, preferably not someone’s private address. Once registered you will be able to access BBC’s iPlayer:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer

Sign into the iPlayer with the BBC account you’ve just set up and away you go. It may ask you if have a TV license, just say yes. You can watch matches on demand or live. If you are looking for the on demand material click under categories and sport. The BBC are much sharper than most on identifying VPNs, however, if you get blocked the first time, sign out of the BBC, clear your cookies and browsing history, log onto a different UK server and repeat the process. It usually works like a charm.

In case you missed Round 2’s action here are the highlights:

European Champions Cup (Heineken Cup)

We are still unsure of the broadcast rights at this stage here in Canada but EPC tv will have you covered as will one of the UK networks most likely Channel 4 for some matches as well as France 2 for French team fixtures using the access methods described below (although for France 2 we are still trying to determine how to access games they are supposed to be showing but so far are not showing up in their grid schedule). As mentioned above the whole competition has been put on ice blocks with the remaining pool matches cancelled.

One method to catch the action is to take out a weekend pass which gives you access to all the games that weekend. It costs €8.99 for the whole weekend (about $14 CDN) The games are not geoblocked for Canada, but can only be watched live and not on demand. The feed is good quality and without advertisements. Check out the link here:

https://epcrugby.tv/

Your second and free option is to register an account with Channel 4 who have one or two of the games each weekend, live and on demand. To do this first you must login to a UK server through a VPN service (we use Nord VPN). Here is the link to set up an account:

https://www.channel4.com/sign-in-or-register?redirectUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.channel4.com%2Fmy4

Once you’ve done that as long as you are on a UK server through a VPN and logged into the Channel 4 site, remember to be on a VPN connected to a UK server before you do anything, then you will have access. If you miss it they will also have the game on demand several hours later.

PRO 14

The PRO14 continues this weekend , but as mentioned above our coverage of it here in Canada on DAZN seems inconsistent but at least we have some coverage. The competition will definitely be taking a back seat to the Six Nations this weekend but there are a couple of interesting matches if you’re interested with our pick being the Irish/Welsh clash of Ulster vs Ospreys on Saturday.

Ulster vs Ospreys – Friday, February 26th – 3:00 PM (Eastern) – DAZN (live and on demand)

Super Rugby

The 2021 competition will be a strictly Trans Tasman and domestic affair in Australia and New Zealand this year. The Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super Rugby formats used last year will continue starting in March, and then once those competitions are concluded, then it becomes Super Rugby Trans Tasman starting in May where the five teams from each of the domestic conferences play each other across the Tasman lending an air of international competition to the proceedings. We don’t know about broadcast rights yet but will keep you posted. Super Rugby Australia gets underway this weekend and the New Zealand competition Super Rugby Aotearoa starts this Friday, but it would appear that no North American broadcasters have the rights to it, even ESPN+ in the US. Rugby Pass have the broadcast rights for almost 100 countries but it would appear that Canada and the USA are not amongst them. We are monitoring it, but for now it would appear not however it seems to be changing daily so perhaps by the end of the week we may have a better understanding. You can check out their website and see if you can sign up for it below:

https://www.rugbypass.com/signup/

Consequently, until something gets sorted out, you are limited to catching the highlights on the official SANZAAR site see link below:

https://super.rugby/superrugby/

The South African Super Rugby franchises instead will play in the Rainbow Cup, which is a competition between them and the top PRO 14 sides, and will start sometime in the spring. We’ll keep you updated once we have more details.

Major League Rugby

After an exceptionally promising start to the season, our local heroes the Toronto Arrows had to put everything on hold, as last year’s tournament was officially cancelled. This year’s tournament kicks off at the end of March and with the later start, it means that Toronto will play a lot more of their games at home this year, instead of like in previous year’s where the bulk of their first games of the season are all on the road.

The Arrows Facebook page has highlights and some of their games available as well as news about next year’s season:

https://www.facebook.com/TorontoArrows/

General Internet Listings for following International Rugby

Our new YouTube favorite is Squidge Rugby. His highly entertaining and insightful videos on our glorious sport have become the The Lineout’s number one weekly YouTube go to location at the moment. The videos are well put together, have some fascinating insights into the topic being discussed and have a production value that is both highly amusing and ingenious. Well worth ten minutes of your time and more than likely to put a smile on your face over a cup of coffee and provide some talking points with your rugby mates. Here is his EXCELLENT piece on the final Autumn Nations game between England and France. Get behind his work and help this excellent content to continue.

Here’s the link to his channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu2oaGQ6Dds6g9lqfexUFbQ

One of the most comprehensive site for International Rugby news is without doubt Planet Rugby see link below:

http://www.planetrugby.com/

For following the games if you can’t watch them either on the Internet or Television then they always have a very useful live tracking feature for all the big games, both for the Six Nations and Super Rugby as well as the World Cup. This allows you to get minute by minute updates on the games as they progress on either your computer or smart phone. If you’re on the road, this is a fabulous tool and best of all it’s free, along with their excellent coverage of the world game, and discussion forums (but be prepared to be shot down in flames by some of the more die hard fans if they feel your opinions aren’t well founded). If you’re a rugby fanatic then it’s pretty easy to lose time on this website and well worth a weekly or daily visit.

Another source of excellent international rugby coverage especially for video is Ultimate Rugby. Its video coverage features highlights, interviews and other interesting tidbits of rugby trivia. Nicely produced and well worth spending some time at. It also has a live match tracker like Planet Rugby and one which you can actually post comments on as the action unfolds which is a nice feature.

http://www.ultimaterugby.com/

Also for those of you interested in a Canadian rugby digest, the rugby blog in BC’s Province newspaper is a good source for news on all things Canadian rugby wise (although of late it’s hard to find much) along with Patrick Johnston’s Try and Tackle podcasts and their Facebook Page which sadly also seems to have died a natural death:

https://www.facebook.com/TryAndTackle/

For a contrasting opinion from New Zealand and our other fan favorite we also really like Two Cents Rugby on YouTube. An enthusiastic Kiwi fan who knows his players and probably has the most extensive rugby jersey collection on the net.

And here’s the link to his channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2qxMYu8Afo2vIs6XBNDx_Q

Lastly, if you want to pick up on some genuine enthusiasm for our great game, we’re a fan of Gareth Mason on YouTube. A South African passionate about the game, his prodigious output on YouTube is always good fun and raises some good points. So check out the G-Man and give him your support.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2t_kXFUxzS6s1L8vCUF6lw

Enjoy!