TV/Internet Rugby Game Listings in Canada

How to watch Rugby this week/weekend

I’ve just been told I’m going on an intensive training course for much of November, so while I will keep this TV page up to date every week, over on the blog side/home page there are unlikely to be as many updates as there normally would be come November and the Autumn International Test Window. Like I say I’ll keep this page current every week, as well as popping out a quick 30 minute wrap up on the podcast as that’s pretty easy to do, but as for sitting down and writing about November’s bumper crop of Internationals, that may be considerably more limited over the coming weeks. So sorry for that and thanks for the patience till I am able to resume normal service in December.

The new United Rugby Championship which replaces the old PRO14 continues this weekend and in addition to club teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales – South Africa’s big four Super Rugby franchises are added to the mix with the Lions, Bulls, Sharks and Stormers. Although the South African sides appeared to struggle initially in adapting to life in the Northern Hemisphere, last weekend seemed to indicate that they were getting the measure of it, with solid wins from the Bulls and Sharks while the Lions and Stormers also put in a respectable showing. It should be a fascinating and entertaining competition and along with the Premiership in England, it will be shown here in Canada on Sportsnet Now+ with limited coverage on the regular Now service. Premier Sports Asia also has the entire competition live and on demand.

Canada also resumed their bid to secure a place in the World Cup last weekend. Having failed to qualify for the Americas 1 berth, that honor now having been claimed by Uruguay after they dispatched the United States last Saturday, the Canadians attempted to qualify for the Americas 2 berth in the second of two matches against Chile which went horribly wrong for them. For the first time since the inaugural World Cup back in 1987, Canada’s World Cup dream is over before they even got there and we will not be represented at the ultimate global showdown. The losses to the United States on aggregate and now Chile, mean that Canada’s chance of qualifying for France 2023 is now truly dead and buried. The Americas 2 berth will be decided between the USA and Chile next year, and the loser of that series will go on to a repechage tournament. But for Canada the next time they can think of a World Cup will be 2027.

It’s a pretty sad reflection of the almost titanic slide of Canadian rugby since they made a World Cup quarter final thirty years ago in 1991. We are in danger of becoming a Tier 3 side as we struggle desperately to hold on to our status at the bottom of the Tier Two rankings. It would even appear that as a whole Major League Rugby isn’t doing a great deal for the cause either as neither the Canadian or American national sides seem to be more competitive at the international level. The South American sides however, seem to be thriving as a result of their own regional club league. In short the 15 a side game in this country is a complete shambles and in desperate need of a seismic overhaul from top to bottom at both the managerial and coaching level. Whether or not it will happen remains to be seen, but this continued acceptance of muddled mediocrity simply has to stop!!!!!!

Sadly it has to be said that watching rugby this year in Canada has got even more complicated, expensive and frustrating than it already was. The various competitions are spread amongst a plethora of broadcasters this year, some free some paid, most requiring a VPN and above all none of it is particularly cheap. Bottom line seems to be that in this country if you want to catch all your rugby this fall/winter/spring reliably you could be looking at up to $60 CDN a month in subscription fees which is pretty depressing, and is hardly going to help grow interest in the game here.

Here’s what we know so far:

Premiership Rugby (England): Sportsnet Now+ and Premier Sports Asia with Premier Sports having the superior on demand service

United Rugby Championship (replaces the PRO14): Sportsnet Now + and Premier Sports Asia as well as free to air on a mix of BBC and RTE Ireland, with Premier Sports having the superior on demand service

Rugby Championship: TSN and Premier Sports Asia (with TSN’s on demand coverage a bit of a bad joke – with Premier Sports having the superior on demand service )

TOP 14 (France) – Premier Sports Ireland/UK

November Internationals (Autumn Nations Cup) – Premier Sports Asia

Six Nations – Premier Sports Asia

Super Rugby – Premier Sports Asia and probably TSN

Canada’s World Cup QualifiersPremier Sports Canada (and Premier Sports Asia)

Champions Cup (Heineken Cup)Probably Premier Sports Asia and possibly Sportsnet Now+

As things change we’ll keep you updated particularly if there are cheaper options.

We’ve added a Podcast to our repertoire! It is also available on Anchor and Spotify among others:

United Rugby Championship

This competition replaces the PRO14, between Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Italian Clubs. It features teams from these four countries with the added excitement this year of South Africa’s top four franchises – the Bulls, Sharks, Lions and Stormers. Sportsnet Now+ is broadcasting it live and in a very limited capacity on demand in this country. It is also on Premier Sports Asia who has all the games live and on demand. However, it would appear that DAZN who had the old PRO14 has given up on rugby completely. We also know that RTE Ireland and BBC will be showing a large number of the games for free, so if you have a BBC account and/or RTE account, all free and accessible with a VPN, you will get to watch most of the games. RTE will be covering the Irish games while BBC will be covering Scottish and Welsh games. Many of these games will also be available on demand. We’ll have more details on how to access this next week.

Premier Sports UK/Ireland will also have ALL the games live and on demand. Just like Premier Sports Asia you can access it with a Canadian credit card just list your country as the UK and give some random UK postal code, and make sure you are using a VPN through a UK or Irish server when accessing it, but it ain’t cheap at either $23 CDN to $26 CDN a month depending on which package you choose either six months or every month. You will want to pick the Premier Player which is their on demand and live streaming service. Also once you’ve set up your subscription and go to the login page you’ll need to click on the “manage your account” header which then takes you to a login page you can use (if you try to use the first one that pops up you’ll just get a login failed error message – don’t ask us why). One nice thing about it is it does have all the French TOP 14 games as well if you’re interested in that.

Premier Sports Asia (not the Canadian Premier Sports site) subscriptions are not cheap but considering they have EVERYTHING and it would seem you don’t even need a VPN anymore and the fact that games are available almost immediately on demand if you miss them live and can’t stand the suspense for several hours or even days on TSN or Sportsnet. it’s a pretty good deal. A monthly subscription to Premier Sports Asia is $33 CDN. They are for all intents and purposes your one stop rugby shop as they have Super Rugby, the Rugby Championship, The Autumn Internationals, Six Nations, English Premiership and the new United Rugby Championship all live and on demand. You can access by using a VPN and choosing a Singapore server (though of late that hasn’t been necessary), and you can use a Canadian credit card, and you have to list Singapore as your country of residence. This weekend though we didn’t actually have to even connect through a VPN which was a bit of a bonus. They will also be showing Canada’s two World Cup qualifiers against Chile.

https://www.premiersportsasia.com/

Also if you want all the highlights of last weekend’s matches you can find them here on the URC website:

https://www.unitedrugby.com/

There is also the option to buy individual games or weekend passes for all the games on URC TV directly see link below:

https://www.urc.tv/

You have to register for free and then each weekend you can purchase either individual games or weekend passes for all the matches. Individual games go for about $15 CDN which is definitely not cheap especially as they are not available on demand. The weekend passes are available for the same price but only give you access to four games (whether or not they are games of your choice we are not sure of as we don’t use the service). There is also the option to buy a season pass at $75 CDN which does seem to get you every game and it would appear you can also access them on demand (but once again because we don’t use the service we haven’t tried it and are reluctant to drop the cash in order to find out when we get everything we need plus all the other tournaments on Premier Sports Asia live and on demand).

There are some rather juicy fixtures this weekend, especially now that the South African sides seemed to have found their groove in the competition. Our picks if you don’t have a team you follow start on Friday with Ireland’s Ulster taking on South Africa’s Lions who were unlucky to lose against Glasgow last weekend and are the best placed South African team on the log while Ulster are sitting in second hard on the heels of table toppers Munster.

On Saturday, you are spoilt for choice but our attention will be on Welsh side Ospreys who travel to the home of Italian outfit Benetton. Ospreys are the best Welsh outfit in the competition but came seriously unstuck against the Sharks last weekend, while Rainbow Cup champions Benetton suffered their first loss against Ulster. After that it’s Scotland’s Edinburgh taking on South Africa’s Bulls. Edinburgh couldn’t get past another South African team last weekend the Stormers as they ended up in a draw and the Bulls will be keen to build on their first win of the tournament against Cardiff. Then it’s a provincial derby in Ireland, between a seemingly unstoppable Munster and feisty Connacht. Lastly, Welsh side Cardiff try and put their troubles with South African sides behind them as they face another of the Southern African giants the Sharks.

Ulster vs Lions – Friday, October 15th – 2:35 PM (Eastern) – Sportsnet Now+ (live and maybe on demand) – Premier Sports Asia (live and definitely on demand)

Benetton vs Ospreys – Saturday, October 16th – 10:05 AM (Eastern) – Sportsnet Now+ (live and maybe on demand) – Premier Sports Asia (live and definitely on demand)

Edinburgh vs Bulls – Saturday, October 16th – 12:15 PM (Eastern) – Sportsnet Now+ (live and maybe on demand) – Premier Sports Asia (live and definitely on demand)

Munster vs Connacht – Saturday, October 16th – 2:35 PM (Eastern) – Sportsnet Now+ (live and maybe on demand) – Premier Sports Asia (live and definitely on demand)

Cardiff vs Sharks – Saturday, October 16th – 2:35 PM (Eastern) – Sportsnet Now+ (live and maybe on demand) – Premier Sports Asia (live and definitely on demand)

Premiership Rugby

England’s Premier domestic competition is now underway for the 2021/22 and although we don’t cover it here on the Lineout as it is a purely domestic competition like France’s Top 14 league, quite a few of you have asked us who has the rights for it here in Canada. Sportsnet World has had the rights for several years now, and has had games available live and on demand (though we are not sure if they will be showing every game each weekend this year). They do have it again this year as does Premier Sports Asia.

Whether or not they will be shown on any of Sportsnet’s TV channels or like TSN, rugby is to be shown only on the web streaming service remains to be seen. Like TSN’s coverage of Super/SANZAR rugby, games should be live and on demand, however the on demand side of things is pretty poor to nonexistent, once again Premier Sports Asia is your go to here for on demand for the Premiership. Here’s the link to set up Sportsnet World through your cable provider if you haven’t already got it in your TV package:

https://www.sportsnet.ca/sn-world/home/

And here is the schedule grid:

https://now.sportsnet.ca/schedule?type=tvlisting

Premier Sports UK/Ireland will also have ALL the games live and on demand. Just like Premier Sports Asia you can access it with a Canadian credit card just list your country as the UK and give some random UK postal code, and make sure you are using a VPN through a UK or Irish server when accessing it, but it ain’t cheap at either $23 CDN to $26 CDN a month depending on which package you choose either six months or every month. You will want to pick the Premier Player which is their on demand and live streaming service. Also once you’ve set up your subscription and go to the login page you’ll need to click on the “manage your account” header which then takes you to a login page you can use (if you try to use the first one that pops up you’ll just get a login failed error message – don’t ask us why). One nice thing about it is it does have all the French TOP 14 games as well if you’re interested in that.

https://www.premiersports.com/

Premier Sports Asia has it as well which could make it your one stop for all your rugby needs as they have the Rugby Championship, Six Nations, Premiership, Super Rugby, and the November Internationals (or Autumn Nations Cup as it is now called).

https://www.premiersportsasia.com/

Also if you want all the highlights of last weekend’s matches you can find them here on the URC website:

https://www.unitedrugby.com/

Canada’s World Cup Qualifiers

Canada after falling short of qualifying for the Americas 1 berth, had their World Cup dream ended after a poor performance against Chile saw them lose the series on aggregate. Unfortunately despite beating Chile by a single point in their first game they had left themselves with a literal mountain to climb last Saturday in Chile in order to win the series on aggregate. They fell far short of the mark and sadly will now have to wait till 2027 for another shot at World Cup glory as they miss their first World Cup since the tournament’s inception back in 1987. It’s been a dizzying fall for Canadian rugby since the heydays of the 90s and something desperately has to change, but we’ve been saying that for the last six years and nothing has happened so we’re not exactly holding our breath, despite the magnitude of the catastrophe. The powers that be running rugby in this country sadly seem content to embrace mediocrity as their benchmark.

Premier Sports Canadian arm is showing both matches at $13.00 CDN for both (with the USA games also on demand), or if you have already got a Premier Sports Asia subscription they will also have them. Here is the link for the strictly Canadian site:

https://www.premiersports.tv/

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 take on the final Test between the New Zealand and South Africa in the Rugby Championship which gave us plenty to think about. Get behind his work and help this excellent content to continue.

Here’s the link to his channel:

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

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 the game and probably has the most extensive rugby jersey collection on the net. Here’s his take on our initial qualifying efforts for the World Cup and ironically is the only analysis of the two games out there, so give him a BIG thumbs up and get behind his work.

And here’s the link to his channel:

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

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/

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

Big news from us is that we are now out on the air. Yes we’ve taken the plunge and set up a Podcast. For now our resident scribe will be hosting it as a solo effort. Time and work permitting we hope to put something out every Thursday for 15-20 minutes. It will probably centre around our weekly wrap of what rugby to watch at the weekend and why, but also more in depth pieces on the big tournaments. But no it won’t be simply someone reading out the latest blog post word for word if that’s what your wondering, although it will feature the posts as a base. It’s all experimental for now and a work in progress but we’re looking forward to the next stage in the Lineout’s development. Who knows maybe there’s even a YouTube channel in our future somewhere down the road!

As always thanks to everyone for checking in, and getting our visitors over the 50,000 mark, including 600 regular followers.

Take care everyone and stay safe!

%d bloggers like this: