Ireland, some European countries, Asia (excluding Japan), North Africa and the Middle East will also be able to enjoy the free live sport


World Rugby has agreed an interim deal with Rugby Australia to provide free live streams of Harvey Norman Super Rugby.

Viewers in the UK, Ireland, some European countries, Asia (excluding Japan), North Africa and the Middle East will be able to access the live streams on World Rugby’s website.

Access will be geoblocked in countries that have broadcast deals to broadcast the competition, such as Australia (Nine/Stan), South Africa (SuperSport), New Zealand (Sky TV), the Americas (ESPN), the Pacific Islands/PNG (Digicel), France, Italy and Spain (Telefonica).

World Rugby’s digital platform has been used for the Rugby World Cup, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and other international fixtures in the past.

Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos made clear that it isn’t expected that the deal runs past the 2021 season, with the Covid-19 situation meaning that it was more difficult to find broadcast partners.

Marinos said: “The broadcast landscape has changed dramatically since the COVID-19 disruption, and while this is an interim solution for the 2021 season, we are tremendously excited about the partnership with World Rugby.

“It’s an innovative solution that ensures our great Australian game can be accessed freely in overseas territories, and I know that will delight both Australian expats living abroad as well as international fans too.”

World Rugby interim chief executive, Alan Gilpin, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Rugby Australia to showcase Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU to fans in the UK, Ireland and other important territories. This innovative deal will see fans engage with the competition across World Rugby digital platforms and get to see the package of progressive law trials up close and personal.”

Several law variations are being tested in the competition, aimed at making the game faster. The first matches are taking place this week when the Western Force host the Melbourne Rebels on Friday, 12 March before the Brumbies take on the Queensland Reds on Saturday, 13 March.