The Six Nations is great and Lions tours are amazing, but the truth is that it's the Rugby World Cup that is the pinnacle of the sport.
Four more years have passed and it is that time once more to see which country can be crowned the world's best.
In this article, I am going to tell you how to make sure you don't miss a match regardless of where in the world you are.
If you have a late summer holiday booked or a business trip you can't wriggle out of, don't despair. Keep reading to see how you can watch every game from any country for free.
When is the Rugby World Cup taking place?
The opening ceremony of the 2019 Rugby World Cup will take place on 20th September ahead of the opening game between Japan and Russia.
The final takes place on 2nd November, which means there are around six weeks of rugby action to look forward to.
Where to watch the games?
For UK-based rugby fans, the good news is that the entire tournament is being shown live and for free on ITV. For those who want to watch online or on-demand, then the ITV Hub will have every game too.
The only problem is that if you want to stream matches from outside the UK, you will find this service is blocked.
But don't panic. It is quite easy to unblock the ITV Hub. All you will need is a ‘VPN‘.
What's a VPN and where can I get one?
A VPN is primarily an online privacy and security app. They're used by millions of users to stay safe online. For you the bonus is they let you change your location.
It has a huge selection of UK-based servers, fast speeds which is great for watching the Rugby in high quality and there's a 30-day money back guarantee.
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How to watch the Rugby World Cup
If you want to watch the Rugby World Cup live and free on the ITV Hub, all you have to do is follow these simple steps:
- Sign up for ExpressVPN or one of the other VPN services by clicking a link on this page.
- Download and install the VPN app from either their official website or your app store.
- Open the app and login with your account details from Step 1.
- Click the Selected Location button, followed by the United Kingdom.
- If needs be, then click the Connect button.
- Open the ITV Hub and watch the entire Rugby World Cup live and for free.
That's all there is to it. If for any reason you can't get ITV Hub to open, try another UK-based server.
Now crack open that beer or non-alcoholic drink of choice, put your feet up and get ready for an entire six weeks of the best sport in the world.
Where is the Rugby World Cup taking place?
For the first time in the tournament's history, the Rugby World Cup is being held outside of the sport's traditional heartlands. What's more, it's heading to Asia with Japan the lucky nation about to enjoy a feast of fabulous rugby.
Matches will be played at twelve different locations across Japan. The opening ceremony and first match will be played at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Chōfu, Tokyo, while both semi-finals and the final will be held at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.
Only those two stadiums plus the Oita Stadium, Ōita will host knock-out stage matches. Other cities hosting group stage games are Fukuroi, Higashiosaka, Fukuoka, Toyota, Sapporo, Kumamoto, Kobe, Kumagaya, and Kamaishi.
Stadiums range from a 72,000 capacity Nissan Stadium to the more modest 16,000 capacity Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium in Kamaishi.
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Who's taking part?
All of the big names in world rugby will be taking part in the world cup. But few lesser-known nations have qualified too.
In Pool A, hosts Japan will face Ireland, Scotland, Samoa, and Russia, who will be appearing at only their second world cup making them the least experienced team at the tournament.
Pool B sees New Zealand, South Africa, and Italy joined by Namibia and Canada, who somewhat surprisingly reached the quarter-finals back in 1991.
England are in Pool C alongside France, Argentina, the United States, who believe it or not are appearing in their seventh Rugby World Cup, and Tonga.
Finally, Pool D consists of Australia, Wales, Georgia, Uruguay, and twice quarter-finalists Fiji.
What teams to look out for?
While Japan will fancy themselves to spring a few surprises on home soil, it is impossible to look past the established rugby nations to pick a winner.
The bookies have New Zealand as favourites at around 5/4. They have won the past two World Cups and it is a fair bet that they will be there or thereabouts this time too.
South Africa is most bookies second-favourites at around 9/2 with England at around 5/1 and Ireland and Wales both floating around 8/1 or 9/1.
Surprisingly, Australia, who have won this tournament twice before are out at 12/1 with France even further adrift at 33/1. Neither side is in form, but both are capable of springing a surprise on their day.
Japan's odds of 150/1 look reasonable although if they can cope with the pressure and make home advantage pay, they too could upset a few sides.
At the other end of the scale, Russia, Canada, Namibia, and Uruguay all have odds of around 5,000/1. If any of those sides gets a result in their group, they will consider this world cup to have been a success.
What players to look out for?
It is always difficult to predict who will be the standout players ahead of a world cup. But, there are few that are particularly gifted and coming into this tournament bang in form.
For England, we fancy Henry Slade to shine. The Exeter centre had a dozen clean breaks in this year's Six Nations and having shone at the last World Cup, injury and form have held him back a bit. But, recent performances suggest he could impress on the highest stage once more.
It's difficult to pick a star out of the New Zealand ranks but Ardie Savea is in imperious form. Playing at no.7, he has been scoring and tacking for fun and promises to have a significant impact in Japan. And for Wales, we fancy Josh Adams to belie his inexperience and score freely on the wing.
The Rugby World Cup 2019 is the pinnacle of the sport and you won't want to miss a game. Fortunately, with a VPN you don't have to.
Just sign up for ExpressVPN or another of our recommended providers, and you can enjoy live and free coverage of every match live on the ITV Hub.
It doesn't matter where in the world you are, the Rugby World Cup held in Japan is available for you with the help of a VPN.
What country will you be cheering this year? I would love to hear and your predictions so let me know in the comments section below.
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