How to watch rugby union in Australia

A union of free-to-air and premium streaming services for all of your rugby union needs.

The colder months Down Under mean those looking to watch cricket have to get used to spinning over to late international time zones. But there’s a whole lot of football on offer, whether you want to watch NRL, AFL or soccer (like you can on Optus Sport). For fans of the game played in heaven, there are a number of places you can get your rugby union fix.

Kayo Sports used to be the home of rugby union, but that’s changed in recent times with Stan Sport now the new place for most rugby. Still, outside two of the best sports streaming services in Australia, there are other places to watch rugby union in 2021.

Super Rugby AU

You may not be able to currently watch live rugby union at a pub with a frosty beer, but you can watch a healthy dose of big-ticket rugby union from the comfort of your couch. For instance, Stan Sport is where you’ll catch all of the action for the recently divided Super Rugby tournament (thanks, COVID!), including Super Rugby AU. Keep an eye out for one match on Friday night and another on Saturday night. Free-to-air fans can catch one Super Rugby AU match every week on Nine.

Super Rugby Aotearoa

Like Super Rugby AU, Stan Sport is where you’ll also find Super Rugby Aotearoa, which is the New Zealand division of the Super Rugby league. Like Super Rugby AU, Super Rugby Aotearoa matches are played on Friday and Saturday, but they’re played earlier: in the evening for Friday matches and during the afternoon on Saturday.

Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Aotearoa unite from 14 May 2021 for Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, wherein the Australian contingent squares off against the New Zealand teams, again on Stan Sport. There are more matches for Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, but they’re still played on Fridays and Saturdays. Keep an eye out for two matches on Fridays and three matches on Saturdays. There’s an evening and night-time match on Friday, followed by an afternoon, evening and night-time match on Saturday.

2021 Bledisloe Cup

If you don’t want to fork out for Stan Sport but still want to watch the Wallabies square off against the All Blacks in the 2021 Bledisloe Cup, Nine has you covered. Stan Sport subscribers will also be able to watch the 2021 Bledisloe Cup, minus the ads. The exact dates are up in the air for the three-Test series, but the first Test will be played at Optus Stadium in July or August, with October matches for the second Test at Sky Stadium in Wellington and the third Test in Wellington at Eden Park.

Other international Wallabies fixtures

At the time of writing, the Wallabies had yet to officially announce its Test schedule for 2021, which means the Rugby Championship and/or Tri Nations Rugby as well as any other potential international fixtures outside of the Bledisloe Cup are up in the air at the moment. Still, you can safely expect to see these on Stan Sport.

Japan Rugby Top League

Stan Sport is where you should head for the Japan Top League with afternoon matches on Saturdays and Sundays.

Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021

There was supposed to be a Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2021, but COVID-19 has reared its ugly head again and necessitated a delay until 2022. It will take place in New Zealand, and you should expect to see it on Stan Sport. The Men’s Rugby World Cup is still on track for 2023 in France.

British & Irish Lions Tour of South Africa

At the time of writing, it was unknown where you can stream the British & Irish Lions Tour of South Africa, but our money is on Stan Sport.

Premiership Rugby

Though Kayo Sports used to be the place to go for rugby union, that’s not the case now that Stan Sport has the rights. That said, there’s still some rugby union on Kayo, including Premiership Rugby. They’re on at odd hours because the matches are played in the UK. If you want to watch live, you’ll either have to get up early on Saturdays or late on Saturday and Sunday nights. Or you can just watch the rugby union replays on demand at a more convenient time.

Women’s World Rugby Sevens

At the time of writing, the Women’s World Rugby Sevens was all replays on Kayo Sports, but there’s a new season kicking off from 22 May at 9.00pm, so tune in to Kayo to watch that. Later in the year, there’s another tournament in Hong Kong, slated to take place from 5–7 November 2021.

Men’s World Rugby Sevens

As above, it was all Kayo replays for the Men’s World Rugby Sevens matches, but there are a few options later in 2021. Dates are TBD, but expect to see tournaments in Vancouver and London in September, followed by one in Singapore on 29 and 30 October 2021. There’s also a tournament on 5–7 November 2021 in Hong Kong. Check Kayo Sports for more details.

Club Rugby

If you want to see the upcoming future-Wallabies talent, head over to Stan Sport for Club Rugby. Frustratingly, matches tend to cross over on Saturday afternoons between the Queensland Hospital Cup and the New South Wales Shute Shield, so you’ll want at least Stan Standard to watch both halves of both matches simultaneously.

Rugby Xplorer

Rugby Xplorer is the place that Rugby Australia recommends you head for grassroots rugby content, including live matches. Unfortunately, we were unable to get out of a sign-up loop. The user reviews on the Google Play Store and Apple Store weren’t flash, either, some of which reflected our sign-up experience.

NBN plans for streaming rugby union

Watching live matches on Stan Sport is one of the most data-intensive ways to stream sports, coming in at just over an 11Mbps download speed requirement. You could comfortably achieve this on an NBN 25 plan, but an NBN 50 plan offers great versatility (and better handling of multiple in-home streams). Below is a daily updating list of popular NBN 50 plans with unlimited data.

Mobile plans for streaming rugby union

If you’d rather your union on the go, bear in mind that Stan Sport uses up to 5GB per hour for HD live streams. For those who want the option of watching plenty of rugby union via mobile data, we’d recommend going with a SIM Only or Prepaid plan with at least 100GB of monthly data. Below is a daily updating list of popular SIM Only and Prepaid plans with at least 100GB.