What channel is the 2023 Rugby World Cup on this week?

ITV Rugby World Cup presenting team
ITV announced a strong team for their coverage of the Rugby World Cup

The 2023 Rugby World Cup is well under way with big wins and shock losses already, including Fiji upsetting Australia to blow wide open Pool C.

In fact, this is shaping up to be one of the most entertaining World Cups we have ever had.

Across seven weeks, there are 27 days on which a rugby match is being played. And on most match days there is more than one fixture, with the majority of games taking place at the weekend.

For the full match list, see our dedicated guide to the tournament schedule. And if a wallchart is what you are looking for, we have got one of those too. Scroll down for our ranking of the 12 best commentators and pundits in the game.

How to watch the 2023 Rugby World Cup on TV in the UK

In the UK, the tournament is being broadcast only on ITV.

The lead presenter is Mark Pougatch, who usually helms the channel’s football coverage. Jill Douglas will share presenting duties, from France, alongside David Flatman and Hugh Woozencroft.

Other pundits on the ITV roster include Jonny Wilkinson, Sam Warburton, Brian O’Driscoll, Bryan Habana, Clive Woodward, Sergio Parisse, Lawrence Dallaglio and Sean Fitzpatrick.

Lead commentating duties will fall to Nick Mullins, Miles Harrison, Johnnie Hammond, Martin Gillingham and Claire Thomas while ITV’s co-commentating team includes Ben Kay, Shane Williams and Scott Hastings.

Interviews will be conducted by Gabriel Clarke, Lee McKenzie and Topsy Ojo.

In the US, the tournament is being shown on NBC Sports. In South Africa the TV coverage is on SuperSport.

How to listen on the radio

Live radio coverage of matches at the 2023 Rugby World Cup is exclusively on the BBC. Matches will be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live, 5 Sports Extra and on BBC Sounds. The BBC says there will be a “bespoke output” in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Sonja McLaughlan is the main radio presenter. Other BBC Radio pundits and co-commentators include Matt Dawson, Chris Ashton and Ugo Monye.

Which ITV channel are the games on?

All games will be broadcast on ITV1 apart from the following six matches:

  • Japan v Samoa (September 28) - ITV4

  • Australia v Portugal (October 1) - ITV4

  • New Zealand v Uruguay (October 5) - ITV4

  • Tonga v Romania (October 8) - ITV3

  • Fiji v Portugal (October 8) - ITV4

The 12 best rugby pundits and commentators on TV and radio

By Charles Richardson

Here’s our guide to the best pundits and commentators working in the sport.

To avoid a conflict of interest, three Telegraph columnists were deemed ineligible for selection in this list: Brian Moore, Maggie Alphonsi and Sir Ian McGeechan.

12. Lawrence Dallaglio (ITV)

Prone to a ramble but amid the occasional waffle there can be a great deal of sense. Like his England captain, Johnson (see below), Dallaglio is forthright and not afraid to speak his mind, but knowledge around the laws of the game can often be found wanting. Shrewdness in that area was one of his strengths as a player; not so much as a pundit. Still, an ardent follower of rugby on a weekly basis; he is more in tune than most.

11. Bobby Skinstad (BBC)

Was a breath of fresh air in the early 2000s alongside Stuart Barnes, Dewi Morris and Simon Lazenby on Sky Sports’ much-loved (and much-missed!) magazine show, The Rugby Club. Is no longer a regular on British airwaves but, like Fitzpatrick, a southern-hemisphere perspective is valuable, if not always agreeable.

10. Martin Johnson (BBC)

Somewhat laconic and matter of fact – a fully fledged member of the ‘why use two words when one will do brigade’ – but that is almost his strength. Just as he was as a player, does not fill the airwaves with meaningless chatter and when he speaks people listen. An almost unrivalled view, in punditry terms, on what it takes to lead and succeed at the very top, but has not been involved in the elite game for some time.

9. Scott Hastings (ITV)

Although the former Scotland centre retired from professional duty in 1997, his erudite punditry, coupled with his mellifluous tone, means he is often elevated to the role of lead commentator. Such a promotion is only bestowed upon the tightest broadcasters; those who, like Hastings, are not afraid to let the action do the talking. Unlike some of his peers, it is clear that he continues to follow the game keenly.

8. Ben Kay (ITV)

Astute and analytical with the forward exchanges – particularly the set-piece, his domain as a player – and, in fairness, is well read when it comes to the laws and the latest directives from the referees. The attempts at ‘banter’ can grate, mind you, and he does have a propensity to over-complicate when calling a spade a spade might be more useful to the viewer.

Ben Kay
Kay: set-piece guru

7. Rory Best (ITV)

Not a regular on the UK punditry scene, but the affable Irishman brings a welcome blend of joviality and knowledge. Like Kay, having a pundit whose specialism was the set piece and breakdown is a welcome addition to the team, given they are rugby’s most esoteric facets. Also manages to keep equanimous and impartial (to an extent) when his nation play; the same could not be said of some of his colleagues.

6. Jamie Roberts (ITV)

Clearly brings significant know-how from an illustrious career with both Wales and the British and Irish Lions. His position as a centre has afforded him a rounded understanding of the game, too. A steady, if not sublime, pair of hands - although he did (recently!) predict Australia as World Cup winners, so who knows.

5. Topsy Ojo (ITV)

Not the most energetic of pundits but his sangfroid is to be admired. Rarely flustered, the former England wing is comfortable as either rugby expert or broadcaster in his own right. Possesses plenty of knowledge to impart on the viewer but that, due to his previous career, is almost solely reserved for the wider, loose exchanges.

4. Sean Fitzpatrick (ITV)

Being one of the all-time great hookers and captains helps. When he talks, people listen. The fact he has stayed involved in professional rugby – with formal administrative roles at both Scarlets and Harlequins – is a big feather in his cap, too. A welcome and refreshing southern-hemisphere presence in this list.

3. John Barclay (ITV)

Another openside who skippered his country, benefits from having mastered the nuances of the breakdown, and another who is not afraid to tell it how it is. Barclay has established himself as a knowledgeable, impartial analyst without the overblown bravado of some of his peers. Understated, sage and opinionated - he should be an arresting listen as he jumps from BBC to ITV.

2. Paul Grayson (BBC)

A World Cup-winner with a long playing career straddling amateur and professional eras means he is as experienced as anyone on the punditry circuit. Crucially, with two sons as current professional players, the former fly-half follows the intricacies of the modern game. A voice full of northern soul with empathetic, soothing notes – like your favourite uncle – a shame he’ll only be heard on radio.

1. Sam Warburton (ITV)

Rugby punditry’s standard-bearer is head and shoulders in front of the chasing pack. Clear and concise, a breakdown and contact-area encyclopaedia, with an assured, authoritative delivery which leaves viewers informed and entertained. A highly respected player and now pundit, who dabbled in the coaching scene, Warburton is not afraid to criticise or opine on issues in the game no matter how controversial.

Sam Warburton
Warburton: the best in the business

Having a punt? First take a look at these Rugby World Cup betting offers and free bets.

Who is your favourite pundit? Cast your vote and join the conversation in the comments section below

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