Check out the complete schedule for rugby union on TV and online throughout the season! Rugby union has grown into one of the world’s most popular sports and fans play and watch rugby union every week.
Rugby Union live stream and betting
From its humble beginnings in England during the 19th century through to the global spectacle that is the Rugby World Cup, rugby union has captured the hearts of millions down the generations. Watching rugby on TV gets you closer to the action and is great if you cannot attend matches yourself. It’s certainly not a coincidence that rugby is one of the best TV sports to watch, regardless of league or standard!
Origins of rugby union
The age-old tale of a boy picking up a soccer ball and running with it during a game of football is legendary. Rugby union is said to have originated from the town of Rugby in England in the late 1800s. By the turn of the century it was a popular amateur sport watched by thousands each weekend.
When the rugby split happened in 1895, rugby union became the No 1 amateur sport in rugby, while rugby league went professional. It wouldn’t be until 1995 that rugby union became a professional sport and its athletes were paid for their efforts! Watching rugby on TV had been big business long before the 1990s era of professionalism. Indeed, rugby union became hugely popular in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s — especially on the international stage.
These days rugby is played every weekend and the rugby union schedule is completely full. So much so that players have pushed in the past to reduce the number of games they play in a calendar year.
The rugby union TV schedules are flooded with fixtures during the international weeks. There are a handful of core international periods over a year, with the majority coming in the spring and autumn. Watching international rugby on TV is to see the very best players on show. England, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia all boast fine international pedigree, while France, Ireland and Wales are also part of that elite group.
The autumn internationals in October and November see the southern hemisphere teams travel to Europe for a round of Test games. These are friendly fixtures in name alone — because in rugby union there is no such thing as friendly play!
The biggest annual international rugby union tournament on the planet is the Six Nations. UK rugby fans have been lucky to be able to watch Six Nations live on free-to-air TV via the BBC and ITV. This has maintained the popularity of this tournament well into the 2000s, where other sports such as football and cricket also vie for viewership.
The Six Nations consists of England, Italy, France, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Matches usually take place over a period of seven weeks, with two ‘rest’ weeks. Teams compete to top the league each year, with the Grand Slam awarded to a side that wins all their five matches in one competition.
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is the premier international tournament in rugby union and showcases the best players on the planet. The Rugby World Cup takes place every four years and as of 2019 only one northern hemisphere nation - England in 2003 - has ever won the title. New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have a rich Rugby World Cup pedigree, while smaller nations such as Japan have impressed in recent tournaments.
The Rugby World Cup TV schedule floods ITV during the tournament and makes betting on rugby great fun as you can watch rugby live and bet In Play during matches.
England’s elite club division brings together some of the best players in the world. The Premiership is fiercely contested, with teams such as Saracens, Bristol, Wasps and Harlequins all boasting vocal fans. Following the Rugby Premiership on TV in the UK is done via subscription channel BT Sport, while Unibet offers rugby live stream and betting options on games throughout the season.
European Rugby Champions Cup
The Champions Cup is the biggest club rugby competition on the planet and draws in the biggest teams from the UK, Ireland and France. This is the northern hemisphere heartland of club rugby and the extensive Champions Cup TV coverage offers fans access to the best games each weekend.
Iconic sides like Toulouse, Leinster, Saracens and Toulon have all won multiple Champions Cups down the years. The tournament begins each autumn with the group stage and is completed in the spring via knockout rounds. This gives teams plenty of time to perfect their game over the months, while fans who want to watch Champions Cup Rugby on TV can look ahead at the fixture list and plan their weekends!
Betting on rugby involves plenty of markets, with the most popular bets falling on odds such as match winner, over/unders and handicaps. Rugby betting rarely focuses on the correct score because it’s so difficult to predict. Instead, over/unders offer you the option to bet on the total points scored in a game — and that is a much simpler value to predict!
Betting on rugby In Play while you watch rugby online is another great way to get closer to the action. You can watch and bet on rugby with Unibet TV and access the latest odds and markets at your fingertips!