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What to watch in men’s rugby: England reunion in Japan, race to Paris 2024

By Martyn Thomas
NICE, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 17: Maro Itoje of England is tackled by Yutaka Nagare during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 pool D match between England and Japan at Stade de Nice on September 17, 2023 in Nice, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

It promises to be an enthralling weekend of rugby as the Test window opens, Asian bragging rights are decided and the final ticket to Paris 2024 is handed out.

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And you can watch it all unfold live and for free on RugbyPass TV.

The eyes of the world will be on Japan National Stadium on Saturday as Eddie Jones takes charge of the Brave Blossoms following a nine-year absence, against England, the team he coached to the Rugby World Cup 2019 final.

Video Spacer

Walk the Talk with Eddie Jones – Trailer | RPTV

Eddie Jones reflects on his career, rugby’s growth in Japan, coaching England and Australia, South African rugby and much more. Full episode coming Tuesday 18 June on RPTV

Coming soon

Video Spacer

Walk the Talk with Eddie Jones – Trailer | RPTV

Eddie Jones reflects on his career, rugby’s growth in Japan, coaching England and Australia, South African rugby and much more. Full episode coming Tuesday 18 June on RPTV

Coming soon

Both teams will want to kick off their summer campaign with a win, as will world champions South Africa and Wales as they go head-to-head at Twickenham later on the same day.

That match forms part of an exciting double-header alongside the clash between Fiji and the Barbarians, with some legends of the game bidding farewell to top-level rugby.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong China meet Korea in a winner-takes-all finale to the Asia Rugby Men’s Championship 2024 while Monaco hosts the final qualification tournament for Paris 2024.

HSBC SVNS 2024 sides South Africa, Great Britain, Canada and Spain are among the 12 teams at the World Rugby Sevens Repechage vying for one last place at the Olympics.

Japan host England in historic Test

England will come face-to-face with Eddie Jones for the first time since he was sacked as coach in December 2022 when they meet Japan in Tokyo on Saturday.

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Jones had been scheduled to lead England on a tour of Japan in 2020 but the pandemic intervened, and he will now be in the opposition coaches’ box for the first official Test between the sides on Japanese soil.

Fixture
Internationals
Japan
17 - 52
Full-time
England
All Stats and Data

The opening stop on a summer tour that also includes two Tests in New Zealand, England coach Steve Borthwick will hope his squad can use the contest to find some form ahead of that series against the All Blacks.

For the hosts, meanwhile, Saturday’s match represents the first scene in Jones’ second act with the Brave Blossoms – who he famously led to a stunning victory against South Africa at Rugby World Cup 2015.

Japan’s performance nine years ago – when they became the first team to win three pool matches but fail to reach the quarter-finals of a men’s Rugby World Cup – ultimately earned Jones the England job.

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And although he led England to the RWC 2019 final and holds the best win ratio of any coach in the national team’s history, Jones left the role under a cloud.

Watch England vs Japan on RPTV

Having landed back in Japan via a brief, disastrous return to Australia, Jones and his side, who failed to emerge from a RWC 2023 pool that included England, both have a point to prove in Tokyo.

Jones believes Japan can make history on Saturday and with Tests against Georgia and Italy on the horizon in July, the match is a crucial one for the hosts too.

It promises to be an enthralling Test match and fans in the UK and Ireland can watch it live and for free on RugbyPass TV.

Saturday, June 22nd

06:50 BST (GMT+1) – Japan v England, Japan National Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

Springboks v Wales headlines Twickenham double-header

Following the full-time whistle in Tokyo, attention will turn to Twickenham where fans will be treated to a mouth-watering double-header.

Back-to-back world champions South Africa will play their first match of the year as they take on Wales before Fiji play the Barbarians.

As of Tuesday, more than 60,000 tickets had been sold for the international jamboree and those in attendance, as well as fans watching on from further afield, should be in for a treat.

Fixture
Internationals
South Africa
41 - 13
Full-time
Wales
All Stats and Data

Five players who started the RWC 2023 final against the All Blacks – Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Faf de Klerk and Jesse Kriel – will run out at Twickenham, while several fringe stars will want to put their hand up for next month’s series against Ireland.

Wales suffered a setback this week with news that captain Jac Morgan will miss the match, and the team’s tour of Australia, and coach Warren Gatland is in rebuild mode having finished this year’s Guinness Six Nations with the wooden spoon.

In the second match of the day, Sam Whitelock and Shota Horie will hope to bow out of top-level rugby with a victory against Fiji.

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Whitelock captains a hugely experienced Barbarian squad that contains 968 Test caps and eight England internationals – including Ben Youngs, Danny Care, Jonny May and Kyle Sinckler.

Fiji, meanwhile, will be playing their first match of 2024 as they prepare for Tests against Georgia and the All Blacks in July and the start of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup the following month.

All the action is available to stream live and for free on RugbyPass TV except where there is a local broadcast deal in place (Africa, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, the Pacific and Asia).

Saturday, June 22nd

14:00 BST (GMT+1) – South Africa v Wales, Twickenham – WATCH LIVE HERE

17:15 BST (GMT+1) – Barbarians v Fiji, Twickenham – WATCH LIVE HERE

Hong Kong China target Asia Rugby title

Hong Kong China will claim a fifth Asia Rugby Men’s Championship crown if they beat Korea at Hong Kong Football Club on Saturday.

The defending champions have been in fine form over the past month, beating the United Arab Emirates 52-5 and Malaysia 70-6.

Fixture
Internationals
Hong Kong
67 - 7
Full-time
Korea Republic
All Stats and Data

A third successive victory would secure a fifth title and ensure that Hong Kong China’s dominance of Asian competition continues.

Despite their surprise 36-32 defeat to the UAE in Dubai two weeks ago, however, Korea know that a first win against their hosts since 2015 would give them the championship.

The final round gets underway on Friday, when the UAE take on Malaysia at The Sevens Stadium.

Fixture
Internationals
United Arab Emirates
62 - 19
Full-time
Malaysia
All Stats and Data

A second win in a row for the hosts would lift them into second place in the standings, for 24 hours at least, as they chase their highest ever finish in the championship.

Both matches are available to stream live and for free globally on RugbyPass TV.

Friday, June 21st

16:30 BST (GMT+1) – UAE v Malaysia, The Sevens Stadium – WATCH LIVE HERE

Saturday, June 22nd

09:30 BST (GMT+1) – Hong Kong China v Korea, Hong Kong Football Club – WATCH LIVE HERE

Olympic qualification up for grabs

Twelve teams have arrived in Monaco knowing that only one will end the weekend clutching the final ticket to Paris 2024.

And such is the quality of the teams at the World Rugby Sevens Repechage start line that at least one previous Olympic medallist will not feature at the Games next month.

Rio 2016 bronze medallists South Africa will start the weekend as favourites having finished seventh in the regular season HSBC SVNS standings and winning the fifth-place play-off at the Grand Final in Madrid.

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However, they will face stiff competition from Rio silver medallists Great Britain – who reached at least the Cup semi-finals in two of the final three regular season tournaments – Spain, Canada, Chile and a host of others.

The action will get underway at Stade Louis II at 14:04 BST (GMT+1) on Friday with the 12 teams split into three pools.

The top two from each pool as well as the best two third-place finishers at the end of the pool stage will advance to the Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

Whoever wins the Cup final will secure the 12th and final place in the Paris 2024 sevens tournament. You can watch it all live and for free on RugbyPass TV.

Friday, June 21st

12:00 BST (GMT+1) – World Rugby Sevens Repechage, Stade Louis II – WATCH LIVE HERE

Saturday, June 22nd

09:00 BST (GMT+1) – World Rugby Sevens Repechage, Stade Louis II – WATCH LIVE HERE

Sunday, June 23rd

08:30 BST (GMT+1) – World Rugby Sevens Repechage, Stade Louis II – WATCH LIVE HERE

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Comments

2 Comments
J
Jen 22 days ago

The navigation on Rugbypass TV is a shambles - it’s so hard to find anything.

f
finn 24 days ago

“All the action is available to stream live and for free on RugbyPass TV except where there is a local broadcast deal in place (Africa, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, the Pacific and Asia).”

this is quite baffling wording! is it saying that it can or can’t be streamed if you live in those places?

Thankfully in the UK you can watch the Wales/SA match on the BBC for free, so whether its on rugbypass or not doesn’t really matter to me, but it would be good to make these things clearer.

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