Rugby World Cup armchair fans facing a gruelling schedule

Not just players in Japan facing a stamina-sapping test as viewers prepare for long sit-in

Tommy Bowe:  will  host the Rugby World Cup coverage on eir Sport where he’ll have a trio of ex-team-mates for company – Gordon D’Arcy, Peter Stringer and Jerry Flannery. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Tommy Bowe: will host the Rugby World Cup coverage on eir Sport where he’ll have a trio of ex-team-mates for company – Gordon D’Arcy, Peter Stringer and Jerry Flannery. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

This is very definitely a World Cup for people who get up early in the morning.

And with 48 matches over 44 days, the schedule will be a gruelling enough one for armchair rugby fans whose commitment to the sport will face its sternest examination on Sunday, October 12th when the tournament’s only 4.15am (Irish time) kick-off takes place.

That night/morning, then, the choice will be between sleep or getting up to watch the Pool B clash of Namibia and Canada – those who choose the former will be classified as bandwagoner fly-by-nights.

Plenty of strength and conditioning work will, therefore, need to have been done before Japan and Russia get us under way on Friday, September 20th, indefatigable levels of stamina required to tune in for all 3,840 minutes of game time over the course of the tournament – and that’s not counting added time and the possibility of extra-time, sudden death and/or kicking competitions that might well be required to decide knock-out games.

Nobody, of course, wants to be parochial about it, this being a global event, but the four matches you will have initially circled in green on your calendar will be Ireland’s pool meetings with Scotland, Japan, Russia and Samoa which, mercifully, kick off at more humane (Irish) times, namely 8.45, 8.15, 11.15 and 11.45 am. If the Gods are with us, we’ll have a quarter-final, semi-final and final to circle in green too.

Our Irish telly hosts will be eir Sport and RTÉ, eir having won the Republic of Ireland rights to broadcast the entire tournament live, but a sub-licensing agreement with RTÉ means that the State broadcaster will also have live coverage of 14 matches – all of Ireland’s games, as well as that opening meeting between Japan and Russia, the pool game between France and Tonga (a bit of a live outlier, this), and all eight knockout matches up to and including the final.

Over in Britain, ITV are the chief rights holders so will also broadcast all 48 games, with S4C showing nine games live, including, naturally enough, all of Wales’ fixtures.

Between the channels, there are enough former players called up for punditry duty to fill an entire World Cup squad, ITV selecting an especially vast and star-studded line-up that includes our very own Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Alan Quinlan, as well as a sprinkling of former coaches, among them Clive Woodward and Ian McGeechan.

Tommy Bowe will be our host on eir Sport where he’ll have a trio of ex-team-mates for company – Gordon D’Arcy, Peter Stringer and Jerry Flannery – as well as internationals Éimear Considine and Louise Galvin. Conor Morris will be in the commentary box, his companion being Liam Toland of this parish.

Highlights show

There’ll also be a daily highlights show on eir for those who don’t get up early in the morning, or, perhaps, have pesky jobs to go to, while Clare MacNamara will present RTÉ’s highlights show, Daire O’Brien hosting their live games.

He’ll have his usual buddies Eddie O’Sullivan and Brent Pope alongside him, as well as former Irish internationals Jamie Heaslip, Stephen Ferris, Bernard Jackman and Fiona Coghlan, with Michael Lynagh popping over from his ITV duties occasionally. Hugh Cahill and Donal Lenihan will talk us through the games.

RTÉ host Daire O’Brien with regular pundits Eddie O’Sullivan, Brent Pope and Stephen Ferris. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
RTÉ host Daire O’Brien with regular pundits Eddie O’Sullivan, Brent Pope and Stephen Ferris. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Mark Pougatch and Jill Douglas will be ITV’s main presenters, with Craig Doyle and Martin Bayfield helping out, while the familiar voices of Nick Mullins and Miles Harrison will look after the commentary on the bigger games - but possibly not Namibia v Canada.

The starter on your World Cup menu is the opening ceremony on Friday, September 20, the feast ending with the final on November 2 at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama. Not, happily, at 4:15 AM - a whole four and three quarter hours later.

Best of luck with your strength and conditioning work, then, only 48 matches to survive.

The TV line-ups

RTÉ

Presenters: Daire O’Brien (live games) and Clare MacNamara (highlights).
Pundits: Jamie Heaslip, Stephen Ferris, Michael Lynagh, Fiona Coghlan, Eddie O’Sullivan, Brent Pope and Bernard Jackman.
Commentator: Hugh Cahill.
Co-Commentator: Donal Lenihan.

EIR SPORT

Presenter: Tommy Bowe.
Pundits: Gordon D’Arcy, Peter Stringer, Jerry Flannery, Eimear Considine and Louise Galvin.
Commentator: Conor Morris.
Co-Commentator: Liam Toland.

ITV

Presenters: Mark Pougatch, Jill Douglas, Craig Doyle and Martin Bayfield.
Pundits: Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell, Jonny Wilkinson, Sam Warburton, Bryan Habana, Clive Woodward, Gareth Thomas, George Gregan, Ian McGeechan, Lawrence Dallaglio, Maggie Alphonsi, Sean Fitzpatrick, Jim Hamilton, Mike Phillips and Michael Lynagh.
Commentators: Nick Mullins, Miles Harrison, Martin Gillingham and Simon Ward.
Co-commentators: Alan Quinlan, Jamie Roberts, Ugo Monye, Shane Williams, Scott Hastings, Danielle Waterman and Ben Kay.

* eir Sport and ITV will show all 48 games live, ITV using ITV4 for some of its coverage, while RTÉ will broadcast 14 matches live – all of Ireland’s games, the opener between Japan and Russia, the pool meeting of France and Tonga, and all eight knock-out matches up to and including the final.

Rugby World Cup Fixtures

Friday, September 20

11:45 AM: Japan v Russia (Pool A) – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

Saturday, September 21

5:45 AM: Australia v Fiji (Pool D) – eir Sport, ITV

8:15 AM: France v Argentina (Pool C) – eir Sport, ITV

10:45 AM: New Zealand v South Africa (Pool B) – eir Sport, ITV

Sunday, September 22

6:15 AM: Italy v Namibia (Pool B) – eir Sport, ITV

8:45 AM: Ireland v Scotland (Pool A) – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

11:15 AM: England v Tonga (Pool C) – eir Sport, ITV

Monday, September 23

11:15 AM: Wales v Georgia (POOL D) – eir Sport, ITV

Tuesday, September 24

11:15 AM: Russia v Samoa (POOL A) – eir Sport, ITV4

Wednesday, September 25

6:15 AM: Fiji v Uruguay (Pool D) – eir Sport, ITV4

Thursday, September 26

8:45 AM: Italy v Canada (Pool B) – eir Sport, ITV4

11:45 AM: England v USA (Pool C) – eir Sport, ITV

Saturday, September 28

5:45 AM: Argentina v Tonga (Pool C) – eir Sport, ITV

8:15 AM: Japan v Ireland (Pool A) – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

10:45 AM: South Africa v Namibia (Pool B) – eir Sport, ITV

Sunday, September 29

6:15 AM: Georgia v Uruguay (Pool D) – eir Sport, ITV

8:45 AM: Australia v Wales (Pool D) – eir Sport, ITV

Monday, September 30

11:15 AM: Scotland v Samoa (Pool A) – eir Sport, ITV

Wednesday, October 2

8:45 AM: France v USA (Pool C) – eir Sport, ITV4

11:15 AM: New Zealand v Canada (Pool B) - eir Sport, ITV 4

Thursday, October 3

6:15 AM: Georgia v Fiji (Pool D) – eir Sport, ITV4

11:15 AM: Ireland v Russia (Pool A) – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

Friday, October 4

10:45 AM: South Africa v Italy (Pool B) – eir Sport, ITV4

Saturday, October 5

6:15 AM: Australia v Uruguay (Pool D) – eir Sport, ITV

9:0 AM: England v Argentina (Pool C) – eir Sport, ITV

11:30 AM: Japan v Samoa (Pool A) – eir Sport, ITV

Sunday, October 6

5:45 AM: New Zealand v Namibia (Pool B) – eir Sport, ITV

8:45 AM: France v Tonga (Pool C) – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

Tuesday, October 8

11:15 AM: South Africa v Canada (Pool B) – eir Sport, ITV4

Wednesday, October 9

5:45 AM: Argentina v USA (Pool C) – eir Sport, ITV4

8:15 AM: Scotland v Russia (Pool A) – eir Sport, ITV

10:45 AM: Wales v Fiji (Pool D) – eir Sport, ITV

Friday, October 11

11:15 AM: Australia v Georgia (Pool D) – eir Sport, ITV4

Saturday, October 12

5:45 AM: New Zealand v Italy (Pool B) – eir Sport, ITV

9:15 AM: England v France (Pool C) – eir Sport, ITV

11:45 AM: Ireland v Samoa (Pool A ) – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

Sunday, October 13

4:15 AM: Namibia v Canada (Pool B) – eir Sport, ITV

6:45 AM: USA v Tonga (Pool C) – eir Sport, ITV

9:15 AM: Wales v Uruguay (Pool D) – eir Sport, ITV

11:45 AM: Japan v Scotland (Pool A) – eir Sport, ITV

Saturday, October 19

8:15 AM: QF1 Winner Pool C v Runner-up Pool D – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

11:15 AM: QF2 Winner Pool B v Runner-up Pool A – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

Sunday, October 20

8:15 AM: QF3 Winner Pool D v Runner-up Pool C – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

11:15 AM: QF4 Winner Pool A v Runner-up Pool B – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

Saturday, October 26

9:0 AM: Winner QF1 v Winner QF2 – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

Sunday, October 27

9:0 AM: Winner QF3 v Winner QF4 – RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

Friday, November 1

9:0 AM: Third-place Play-off – RTE, eir Sport, ITV

Saturday, November 2

9:0 AM: Final –RTÉ, eir Sport, ITV

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