Just three months after last year’s tournament came to a close, the 2021 Six Nations is under way and once again it will be a unique spectacle, featuring Covid-secure bubbles, squads stretched to their very limits and – very possibly – a smattering of 11th-hour disruptions. It’s going to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, so read on as our guide explains how to watch a Six Nations 2021 live stream in time for the first kick-offs this Saturday and Sunday – including for free in the UK and Ireland.
Reigning champions England come into the Six Nations as favourites, but Fabien Galthié’s France certainly have the talent to push Eddie Jones’ men all the way, as well as a searing desire to shake off the ‘nearly-man’ tag that England consigned them to twice last year. With England suffering a shocking opening loss to Scotland, it’s safe to say the tournament is wide open.
Les Bleus actually beat England in their 2020 Six Nations opener but finished the tournament in second place on points difference, before losing the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup final to England in sudden death barely a month later. It means Anglo-French relations are at an explosive low, with fresh fuel reigniting an old rivalry.
Ireland also came within a whisker of winning last year’s Six Nations, but Andy Farrell’s team fell short on the final weekend, a defeat in France bringing their campaign to a disappointing end. They followed that up with a third-place finish in the Autumn Nations Cup, and fans will be expecting better this time around.
Scotland could be a dark horse, having impressed in patches during last year’s tournament, but the misery could well continue to pile up for Wayne Pivac’s beleaguered Wales team, which looks more likely to challenge Italy for the Wooden Spoon than it does for the title.
However, with off-field circumstances likely to wreak havoc on each team’s preparations, this could be the most unpredictable tournament we’ve seen in years. Follow our guide as we explain all the ways to get a Six Nations live stream today – starting with how to watch the Six Nations for FREE in the UK and Ireland.
The great news for UK-based rugger fans is that you can watch the Six Nations online FREE for every single game of the action!
Coverage of the tournament is shared between the BBC and ITV, with S4C also stepping in to offer Welsh-language coverage of select Welsh games.
Not in the UK for the 2021 Six Nations? No worries – residents of the country can just download and install a VPN to port themselves back home to a UK location, then watch live as usual.
If you’re outside your country of residence – whether that be the UK or anywhere else – and try to start streaming the rugby via your native broadcaster, you’ll soon discover that you can’t, as it’s location restricted. But there is a way to tune in regardless.
By downloading and installing a VPN, you can effectively trick your computer into thinking that it’s back at home. That way you can enjoy your home coverage without having to find an illegal stream – assuming you comply with the broadcaster’s fine print, of course – specifically its terms and conditions.
Use a VPN to watch Six Nations rugby from anywhere
ExpressVPN – get the world’s best VPN
We’ve put all the major VPNs through their paces and we rate ExpressVPN as our top pick, thanks to its speed, ease of use and strong security features. It’s also compatible with just about any streaming device out there, including Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox and PlayStation, as well as Android and Apple mobiles.
Sign up for an annual plan now and get an extra 3 months absolutely FREE. And if you change your mind within the first 30 days, let them know and they’ll give you your money back without a quibble.
Unlike in the UK, Virgin Media offers free-to-air channels in the Republic of Ireland, and Virgin Media One (formerly Ireland’s TV3) is the channel you’ll want to head to for all this year’s Ireland Six Nations fixtures.
This means you can also get a 100% free Six Nations live stream in Ireland. Watch online using Virgin Media Player – or check out its TV Anywhere app, which is available for nearly all modern devices including smartphones, tablets, computers and more.
Not in Ireland for the Six Nations? Enjoy the same craic-ing coverage you would at home with the help of a good VPN as per our guide above.
NBC Sports once again has the rights to show Six Nations rugby in the US, which used to mean coughing up the best part of $80 for an NBC Sports Gold Rugby Pass.
No more. NBC’s Rugby Pass has been absorbed into its excellent new streaming platform, Peacock, which makes rugby more accessible to US fans of the sport and ex-pats living in the States than ever before.
For starters, Peacock costs just $4.99 a month for an ad-supported service that gets rugby fans not only the Six Nations but also features Premiership Rugby and Heineken Champions Cup coverage as well (plus loads more premium sports coverage, TV shows, and movies). Alternatively, you can pay a $10 a month for commercial-free coverage.
And best of all, Peacock even offers a FREE 7-day trial you can take advantage of.
If you’ve already hopped on the Peacock bandwagon but are abroad during the 2021 Six Nations, don’t forget that you can still tune in like you at home with the help of a good VPN.
If you don’t mind the late nights/early mornings, subscription service beIN Sports is showing every game of the 2021 Six Nations in Australia.
If you’re a Foxtel customer, you can add beIN to your package for an extra fee. No worries if you aren’t though as you can also subscribe to beIN as a standalone subscription – or try Foxtel’s streaming-only platform, Kayo Sports, which also airs Six Nations matches.
The great value over-the-top service will let you stream loads of quality sport – including Australia’s own NRL and AFL footy competitions. All this for the very reasonable price of just $25 per month for a basic package, or $35 a month for the premium offering that works across three screens.
Better still, it offers a FREE 14-day trial, so you can check it out for yourself, no strings attached.
Not in Australia for the rugby? Don’t forget to take advantage of the VPN option as detailed above to make sure you can watch your domestic coverage anyway.
The official broadcaster for the Six Nations in New Zealand is Sky Sport, which is available as part of a range of pay TV packages.
Away from New Zealand right now? Use a VPN and you’ll be streaming the rugger in no time at all.
DAZN is a streaming service available in a select few countries including Canada, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Luckily, it has secured streaming rights for the Six Nations rugby.
You can even watch for free, as DAZN offers a 30 day FREE TRIAL. If you decide to keep DAZN, you’ll pay $20 per month or an annual subscription of $150, which gets you loads more sporting action, including every NFL game and Premier League and Champions League soccer, and much more.
Despite suffering defeat in their opener, England were crowned champions for the first time since 2017, pipping a resurgent France to the post by the finest of margins on the final weekend of the longest Six Nations tournament ever.
Taking place each year from the first weekend of February and usually concluding by the end of March, the tournament is contested by the international sides of France, England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
Each Six Nations team plays the other five once per season with home advantage in alternate seasons, giving a total of 15 matches per Championship. A win earns that team four points, while a draw earns both teams two points.
A losing side receives no points, however a bonus point can be picked up by a team regardless if they won, lost or drew if they score four or more tries in a game. Losing sides can also still pick up two bonus points if they score four tries or more in the process and lose by a margin of seven points or fewer.
The team with the most points at the season wins the Six Nations Championship Trophy. If the winning team has defeated all five other Unions, it is given the title ‘Grand Slam Winner’.
Reigning champions England lead the pack with seven wins, with Wales and France both close behind on five and Ireland on four.