How To Watch Rugby World Cup 2019 In New Zealand (Step By Step Guide)

The Rugby World Cup 2019 is probably going to be the biggest sporting event of the year and you’ll want to get the best coverage of the All Blacks or your team.

We’re starting early and showing you how to watch rugby world cup 2019 in New Zealand as easily as possible.

In notorious fashion Spark Sports have won rights to stream all matches live and on demand in New Zealand.

They plan to bring the first ever rugby world cup live stream.

TVNZ will stream twelve games on free to air. 7 of these will be live and 5 will have a one hour delay.

Right now it’s not clear if those live games will be All Blacks or random.

Who wants to watch a delayed stream too? Honestly who came up with this idea?

Rural users. Those with dodgy internet, I can hear you swearing at the screen right now and I don’t blame you either.

Without good internet, you’re not going to be watching more than 2 live Rugby World Cup 2019 games at all.

how to watch rugby world cup nz

How To Watch Rugby World Cup 2019 NZ

To watch the rugby world cup in New Zealand you’re going to need to get yourself sorted sooner rather than later.

If money and budget isn’t a problem then this is the ideal package I’d recommend sorting.

  • Internet Provider: Get Fibre 100/30, less chance of streaming issues.
  • Television: 2017+ Samsung Smart TV. They have an official app.
  • Router: Use the ISP default or buy a reputable gigabit router.
  • Connection: Hard wire the TV to router with Ethernet cat 6 cable.
  • Spark Sports: Get the full match pass asap (best value).

So that’s the easiest option but I know most people already have one or all of those products and likely not the one’s most recommended.

So let’s dive in and see what alternatives you have.

1. Get Your Tournament Pass

Here is the current pricing from the Spark Sports website.

Date Price
Until May 1st $59.99
1st Jun – 10th Sep $79.99
11th Sep – 2nd Nov $89.99
Per Game $24.99

If you already have Spark Sports, you still must buy a package on top.

For most kiwi’s these prices are pretty steep. One match for $25?

I can say now people will be looking for live streams to avoid paying, especially if they are only interested in watching 3 pool games.

2. How To Actually Watch Spark Sports?

Okay now you have a few different options to watch the games.

The Spark Sports website may be confusing so here are your options:

  • Web Browser
  • Smartphone or Tablet
  • Smart TV Built In Casting
  • Smart TV Apps (Samsung Only)
  • Google Chromecast
  • Apple TV AirPlay Casting
  • Apple TV App (Not Launched Yet)
  • Laptop or Desktop Computer.

Web Browser

The easiest option is to use computer or laptop web browser.

You could also connect a cable from your laptop to the computer if your device supports an HDMI or Display Port.

The problem with this is that the quality will likely be quite choppy.

Smartphone or Tablet

Probably the easiest option, especially if it’s just you watching is to use your tablet or smartphone using the app or web browser with Spark Sports.

Quality will look great but on larger screens it might not be.

Once you have the app you can use casting too (see below).

Smart TV Apps

Currently only 2017+ model Samsung TV’s offer the Spark Sports app.

If you have a 2019 model, the app should auto-install when you first connect your TV to the internet.

If you can’t find the app or it’s not installed then you can install manually via the ‘Samsung App Store.’

For a complete list of compatible Samsung TV’s checkout this page.

Currently there are no other Smart TV apps available yet (June 2019).

It would have been very beneficial if Spark developed an android TV app which would have worked for people with 2017+ Kogan, Sony, LG and Panasonic Android TV’s. – This is planned for the next couple of months.

If you’re buying a new TV soon, do yourself a favour and buy Samsung Smart TV in case the apps for other TV’s don’t launch. 

Smart TV Built In Casting

The easiest way to get your games on the television is if you have a smart TV that has casting functionality.

Casting is not the same as screen mirroring.

Connect your TV to the same wireless network as your late model phone or laptop.

You can then download the Android or iOS app to your phone. Or visit the official website on your laptop. Login and choose your match.

Now you can cast it to your TV.

Phones or tablets running Android 4.4.2+ or iOS 11.4+ offer casting. Check your model of TV online to see if it is supported.

I don’t have a 2017+ Smart TV or built in casting…

Google Chromecast

Buy a Chromecast for $50-$100 and plug this into your HDMI port. Your TV requires this port or you’ll need an adaptor.

Connect Chromecast to your home wireless network.

Using the Spark Sports mobile app or laptop browser you’ll cast the match to your Chromecast.

This works the same way as casting to a Smart TV, the Chromecast acts as the casting hardware.

When both devices are on the same wireless network, casting will work.

Make sure your wireless signal strength is strong to avoid buffering.

Apple TV Casting

If you have a new model iPhone or iPad you can use AirPlay to Apple TV.

You’ll need to have Apple TV version 4th or 5th gen.

Airplay 2.0 is the latest technology and you’ll need iOS 11.4 for iPhone, iPad and iPod and iTunes 12.8 or later for Mac or PC. It won’t work if you’re using an older device that can’t be upgraded.

Apple TV App

Spark Sports claim their Apple TV app will be ready by September. This information was provided by their website.

If that happens you won’t need to cast via AirPlay and the quality should be much better.

3. Get Your Internet Into Shape

You probably want to check a few things here. Just because your internet works well streaming Youtube videos and browsing the internet doesn’t mean it will be fine in October.

Use A Reputable Provider

The easiest thing in the world would be to sign up for Spark Broadband.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking Spark is any better than other providers.

It’s easy to say it would be the best performing given it’s their technology.

This is not always possible given contracts.

If you’re in a contract ensure you’re getting a reliable connection and fast speed by doing a speed test.

If you’re on ADSL, Satellite or VDSL then..

Get Fibre ASAP if you can.

If you can get fibre in your house but haven’t already then I suggest getting this as soon as possible. It will turn a normal ADSL or VDSL connection into a much more faster and reliable service.

If you’ve got fibre already then ensure you’re on the 100MB download plan for best results.

If you can’t get fibre then you still should be fine if you’ve got a decent download speed.

If your Internet is unreliable, fix it now!

Use Your ISP’s DNS Settings

It’s a big factor that some people will be completely unaware of, especially if someone else setup the internet at home or their computer is riddled with spyware.

Spark uses a CDN based in New Zealand for their services so you’ll want to ensure your router or laptop is using DNS servers recommended by your ISP.

Don’t panic, 95% of users already use these. If you’re unsure then you can follow this tutorial for further information.

If you’re still unsure, read this article or get your ISP to check and help update if needed.

Also check your LOCAL Windows or Mac device isn’t using a proxy or Google DNS if you’re watching or casting from there.

You can check DNS settings for all devices here.

Run A Speed Test To Akamai CDN

Akamai is the CDN provider for Spark so running a speed test to them is the best way to ensure you’ve got a good connection.

We can’t go into too much detail as the technology is always changing but if you’re getting a good connection then it’s a good sign of things to come.

Check the speeds similar to ours.

The Real Problem Is Bandwidth

You can be fully prepared, have the fastest internet and still experience endless buffering and connectivity issues.

Last year, Optus Sports, in Australia, launched their streaming service for the football world cup and it was an absolute shit show.

Streams were buffering from day one, cutting out and sometimes even playing the wrong matches.

After being shamed in the media, a Government intervention and giving free access to all Australians for one month they admitted defeat and all the games were offloaded to SBS.

SBS streamed games free to air.

Spark can have the best infrastructure in the world but ultimately if your own internet provider isn’t coming to the party your stream will buffer.

Your ISP could still throttle bandwidth to Spark.

Believe it or not, dirty tactics do exist in the telecommunications industry such as Provider X deliberately throttling traffic to Spark’s CDN provider to screw them over and of course you as the consumer will suffer too.

But why would they do that? 

It’s business and this is how it works.

Spark encourages other ISP’s to support their infrastructure in return for being allowed to sell tournament passes.

This dates back to 2017 when they won the rights.

If you’re selling passes you’re going to help Spark right?

If you’re not selling passes, you could shape bandwidth to cause problems.

Spark promised ISP’s they could resell tournament passes but so far they haven’t given them the ability to do so. As 2 degrees mobile points out, Spark have been selling early bird passes for $59.99 and collecting contact details for all these people who are probably on other ISP’s.

It’s likely they will be up selling these customers on other Spark services.

ISP’s can only resell at the $79.99 price point from June 1st.

So back to our example, why would an ISP support Spark when they are being stabbed in the back after helping to invest in Spark’s infrastructure over the last few years?

Then when customers have problem, Spark get the bad rep in the media.

If you’re not a Spark customer then you have no idea what your ISP is going to do until it’s too late. You won’t be fixing your internet connection half way into the match.

How To Avoid My ISP Throttling My Connection

Firstly your ISP would never admit to throttling or shaping your connection. It’s probably not even worth calling up and asking.

Secondly, Spark will tell you they are working with other ISP’s to ensure there’s no issues. While it’s likely, they have absolutely no control over this.

Don’t be misled into thinking Sparks network is better, it’s not. 

The easiest way to stop your ISP throttling your connection is to use a VPN as data is encrypted.

A VPN changes your IP address, conceals your web browsing from your ISP so they have no idea what you’re doing. By routing your connection via a different ISP you’ll improve your connection quality to specific services.

You can signup with ExpressVPN.com which offers servers in both New Zealand and around the world.

Simply signup for an account, turn on the NZ VPN and access the same streaming platform and see what’s happening.

If there is no buffering then you’ll know your ISP is throttling your service or up to dirty tactics.

I always recommend using a VPN for secure browsing online and unblocking geo-blocked content.

How To Setup Your VPN
To use any of these platforms you’re going to need to use a VPN such as ExpressVPN.com

  • Step 1: Signup for a 1 year plan (it’s the most cost effective)
  • Step 2: Find the ExpressVPN app in your Smart TV or Phone.
  • Step 3: Download the app for android/tv/iOS or laptop/desktop/mac
  • Step 4: Login and access the server list, change to specific country (i.e. NZ)
  • Step 5: Visit provider website and create a free account (see below)
  • Step 6: Or download their app to smart TV or phone.
  • Step 7: Watch every game live and on demand instantly.

Rugby World Cup Alternatives To Spark Sports

New Zealanders have to pay to watch the Rugby World Cup which is a bit annoying given other countries can watch it for free.

In the UK for example, ITV won the rights and will be streaming every game live and on demand through their web based ITV player. Other free to watch countries include:

  • SuperSport South Africa
  • J Sports
  • NHK
  • EirSport Ireland.

You can download the apps for these providers once you’ve installed a VPN client on your computer or Smart TV.

So lets say Spark Sports don’t launch an app for your TV, you can simply download the ExpressVPN client which is on your TV, install and activate this and then download the ITV Player app and watch all the games live.

Verdict

There you have it, the best guide on how to watch the rugby world cup 2019 in New Zealand and an alternative to avoid traffic shaping is to use a VPN and a broadcaster from overseas.

A VPN encrypts data so your ISP can’t tell what you’re doing.

If your internet connection is slow, it might be worth upgrading to VDSL or Fibre if it’s available as we have no idea what games will be on TVNZ.

And if you’re rural. You might want to head into town, sorry!

As for bar owners, it might be a wise investment to get a commercial contract rather than residential in case you need assistance on game day.

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