Enjoy a complete schedule of all streamed and televised Rugby Union matches for the 2019/2020 season. Rugby Union is a popular contact sport played all over the world. Millions of fans tune in regularly to watch rugby on tv or live in the stadiums. Rugby players are sometimes described as football gladiators, due to the combination of speed, strength, and strategy which they require in order to beat the opposing team. Every Rugby match promises thrilling experiences, unpredictable results and exciting surprises. It is no wonder, therefore, that it is one of the most popular watched live sport on tv.
In 1823, during a school football match in the town of Rugby, a man by the name of William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran towards the opponent's goal. The game of Rugby was born, or, that's what the legend says anyway.
Whether the story is fact or fiction, what is known for certain is that the game originated in England and spread throughout the Commonwealth. Nations, such as New Zealand and Fiji consider Rugby to be their unofficial national sport, and the sport now numbers over 6 million players.
The rules of the game were first written in 1845, and these were soon followed by the so-called Cambridge Rules of 1848. In 1863, the Blackheath Club decided to break away from the Rugby Union and formed its own version of the sport, known today as Rugby League.
Whilst informal international competitions started being organized in the years that followed, the first official Rugby World Cup was held in 1987. Viewers from all over the world tuned in to watch Rugby Union on tv and cheer for their favorite team. New Zealand, the championship's hosts, won the title of winners, beating a determined French opposition.
Today, the Rugby World Cup, organized every four years, remains one of the most popular events for the sport. The Six Nations Championship and the Rugby Championship are both held annually, and since fans can watch live Rugby Union on tv they've become just as popular as the World Cup.
Rules of The Game
A match of Rugby Union involved two teams of 15 players each who compete to win more points than the opposing team. Within the allocated eighty minutes of playing time, the teams aggressively attempt to score as many goals and get as many scoring tries as possible.
The game starts with one team kicking the ball from the halfway line, in the direction of the opposition's goal line. During a match, the ball can be passed to another player by kicking or carrying it. In the case of the latter, the player can only pass it to another player laterally or backward.
Whilst the ball is in the possession of one team, it is the other's team objective to stop the ball from approaching their goal line, and, if possible, steal the ball and move towards the opposition's line. Players can choose to tackle the player holding the ball. Once the tackle is complete, players from both teams compete for the ball.
A Rugby Union game continues until a dead-ball line, a try is scored, the ball passed the side-line, or a foul occurs. As those who watch Rugby Union on tv would know, when a foul occurs the stadium erupts in cheers and booing, creating a magnificent echo. Once a team scores points, the other team restarts the game, by once again kicking the ball from the halfway line.
What Differentiates it From Rugby League?
The Rugby League was born in the late 1860s and, as time progressed, it became significantly different from Rugby Union. Those watching sport on tv today would immediately notice several differences between the two. For starters, whilst teams in Rugby Union number 15, those in Rugby League number 13. Only seven substitutions are allowed in Union, in contrast to the 10 which are allowed in League.
Another important difference is the scoring allocated to different actions. Whilst the ways to score points are quite similar, a try with a conversion can total seven points in Rugby Union, but only six points in Rugby League. Similarly, penalties and drop goals reward teams in Rugby Union with three points, but in Rugby League, only two and one points respectively are awarded.
The biggest difference between the two is apparent during a tackle, which is what fans watching live Rugby on tv free love to see. In Rugby Union, a player who is tackled needs to release the ball and any players who are onside and on their feet can pick it up. In contrast, when a player is tackled in Rugby League, whilst the ball must still be released, it can be rolled to a teammate. This can be done up to six times per possession before the player is forced to kick the ball towards the opposing team.
Key Players and Teams
New Zealand is considered to be the best Rugby Union team ever, so it comes as no surprise that some of the best players are from the country. Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, and Jonah Lomu are great examples of the country's top players. Ireland, Wales, and England follow New Zealand as the next best countries, based on the Men's World Rugby Rankings.
Memorable TV/Match Moments
Fans who were watching Rugby Union on tv in 1995 will surely remember the surprising emergence of Jonah Lomu. England's defense proved futile against the raw power of the 6ft 5in New Zealander. Years, later, in 1999, it looked like Lomu would similarly beat the French opposition, but, to everyone's surprise, New Zealand lost 31 to 43.
A truly astonishing moment happened during the 2007 World Cup. Bryan Habana, considered to be the fastest player in the world, was outrun by the USA's own Takudzwa Ngwenya. Whilst South Africa went on to win the game, it lost an important title.
With the possibility of watching live Rugby on tv free, the popularity of the sport around the world is guaranteed to continue increasing. The sport offers an exhilarating and truly memorable experience to fans, possible due to the raw, and sometimes animal-like full contact competition. It's a game that offers seconds of thrill throughout 80 minutes of pure entertainment.