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RWC TV Guide: The games and pundits you'll be watching across RTÉ, eir Sport and ITV

It’s time to watch too much rugby. so here are all the details you’ll need.


It being the quadrennial slugfest between rival broadcasters for our eyeballs around the Rugby World Cup. 

There are three broadcasters carrying live coverage of the Japanese jamboree for Irish viewers, so here are the relevant details of their coverage along with the names of the pundits you’ll be tweeting bleary-eyed – but no less angrily – about. 


rte-sport-rugby-world-cup-2019-launch Brent Pope, Bernard Jackman, Fiona Coughlan, Eddie O'Sullivan and Daire O'Brien at the launch of RTÉ's RWC coverage. Source: David Fitzgerald/SPORTSFILE

What games are they showing live? 

The state broadcaster have sublicensed the biggest games from eir Sport, and thus will have live coverage of 14 games in all. They’ll have the opening ceremony later today along with the opening game between Japan and Russia; all of Ireland’s pool games; the eight knockout stage matches; and, um, France v Tonga. 

(That last game is an outlier, but RTÉ’s contract requires them to show one game per weekend. With Ireland v Russia on a Thursday, they’ve decided to tick the box with France/Tonga.)

Any highlights for the late risers? 

Yes – Claire McNamara host 16 highlights shows across the tournament. 

Who’s involved? 

The thinking man’s sports anchor, Daire O’Brien, will front the live coverage. Analysts across RTÉ’s TV and radio coverage include Jamie Heaslip, Stephen Ferris, Michael Lynagh, Brent Pope, Rob Penney, Bernard Jackman, Ian Madigan, Alastair Kellock, and Eddie O’Sullivan. 

Ah, so there’ll be a few Eddieisms? 

You’d have to imagine so. For the sadly benighted – an Eddiesism is a phrase unique to the former Irish coach. Some of his greatest hits include: “You can’t unring a bell”, “New Zealand are a different bag of hammers”, and “Stringer might as well be looking for a Mars bar in a bucket of shit.” (That last one was to criticise sloppy ball presentation from a ruck at Irish training.) 

Anything else? 

Hugh Cahill and Donal Lenihan will be on TV commentary from Japan, with Michael Corcoran doing likewise for the wireless. 

eir Sport 

jerry-flannery Jerry Flannery launces eir Sport's coverage. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

What games are they showing? 

All of them. 

Even Georgia/Uruguay? 

Yes. They are the only Irish broadcaster to have the rights to all of the games. 

Okay, who’s involved? 

Tommy Bowe is the main host, and analysts include Mike Phillips, Louise Galvin, Jerry Flannery, Gordon D’Arcy, and Leinster duo Scott Fardy and James Lowe. 

Conor Morris and Liam Toland will be the main commentary pair, and Murray Kinsella of this rugby parish will be involved, too. 

Once the tournament kicks off – will it be the end of that ‘Eimear-nator ad?’

We live in hope. 


rugby-union-rugby-world-cup-2015-final-new-zealand-v-australia-twickenham Brian O'Driscoll working with ITV at the 2015 RWC final. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

What games are they showing live? 

All of ‘em, split across ITV1 and ITV4. 

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And a highlights show? 


Who’s involved? 

Mark Pougatch will be the main anchor, with support from Jill Douglas, Craig Doyle and Martin Bayfield. 

Behold, rugby analysis’ answer to the Galacticos: Johnny Wilkinson, Sam Warburton, Brian O’Driscoll, Bryan Habana, Sir Clive Woodward, Paul O’Connell, Gareth Thomas, George Gregan, Ian McGeechan, Lawrence Dallaglio, Maggie Alphonsi, Sean Fitzpatrick, Jim Hamilton, Mike Phillips and Michael Lynagh.

Nick Mullins, Miles Harrison, Martin Gillingham and Simon Ward will be the main commentators, and they’ll be joined by Jamie Roberts, Ugo Monye, Shane Williams, Scott Hastings, Danielle Waterman, Ben Kay and Alan Quinlan on co-commentary. 

Anything else? 

ITV say their coverage will also feature the “iconic Rugby World Cup anthem, World In Union, sung in a new, specially-recorded version by Emeli Sande as its theme music, which will also feature Japanese star, Sarah Alainn.” 

Right, on with the games!

Ireland’s Pool Stage fixtures (Kick-offs Irish time)

Sunday 22 September: Ireland v Scotland, 8.45 am
Saturday 28 September: Japan v Ireland, 8.15 am 
Thursday 3 October: Ireland v Russia, 11.15 am
Saturday 12 October: Ireland v Samoa, 11.45 am

Former Ireland performance analyst and current coaching wizard of OZ Eoin Toolan joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to predict Ireland’s World Cup, break down every pool, and call the overall winners.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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