Virgin Media, the commercial broadcaster, and public-service network RTÉ have acquired rights in Ireland for this year’s Rugby World Cup.

The agreement will see all 48 matches being broadcast free-to-air (FTA) on Irish television across the RTÉ linear channel and RTÉ Player streaming service, as well as Virgin TV and Virgin Player.

Ireland’s matches will be shared across the broadcasters with the Rugby World Cup final being broadcast simultaneously. RTÉ has also secured live radio broadcast rights for Ireland's matches.

RTÉ and Virgin also jointly share domestic rights to the Six Nations, the top European national teams competition.

Rights to the 2019 World Cup were held in Ireland by Eir Sport, the pay-TV broadcaster that shut down its sports channels in 2021.

RTÉ showed 14 games from that tournament, including all of Ireland’s games, through a sub-licensing agreement with Eir.

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By GlobalData

Ireland's matches at the Rugby World Cup are protected by listed events legislation and must be shown on FTA television.

The 2015 Rugby World Cup was broadcast in Ireland by commercial network TV3 (now Virgin Media One), while RTÉ televised the 2011 edition.

World Rugby said the deal with RTÉ and Virgin completes the major rugby broadcast market line-up for the 2023 World Cup, which it claims is on track to be “the most widely viewed Rugby World Cup ever.”

The tournament in France will run from September 8 to October 28.

Interest in the Irish national team is particularly high as the country is going for a Six Nations Grand Slam this weekend and are currently ranked number one in the world.

Alan Gilpin, World Rugby chief executive, said: “There has perhaps never been a better time to be an Ireland rugby fan. We are delighted that RTÉ and Virgin Media will be telling every moment of the France 2023 story on their free-to-air platforms.

“They share our passion for rugby and its ability to attract new audiences and we look forward to working together to make this tournament a tournament to remember.”

Dee Forbes, RTÉ director general, added: "Over the last number of years, we have been focused on acquiring sports rights to ensure that our national games and our national teams in action are shared with the widest possible audience.

“We are delighted to make this latest agreement with World Rugby ensuring that the entire Rugby World Cup tournament is brought to Irish audiences free to air across RTÉ and Virgin Media Television.

“It's the jewel in the crown of international rugby and given the Irish team's phenomenal performance, the excitement is building towards September."