Will Saturday’s big clash deliver a fitting end to what’s been a truly amazing tournament?
2019 Rugby World Cup Final, 7am, Saturday 2 November, ITV/HD (CH 103/113)
The 2019 Rugby World Cup has thrilled, divided opinion and had fans off their sofas – and all usually before lunchtime. Yes, it’s been an epic six weeks of early-morning action from Japan, and now it’s time for the grand finale.
The tussle to be crowned the best of the best comes to a head this Saturday on ITV, when England take on South Africa at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama. It doesn’t get bigger than this.
From the opening ceremony to the recent semi-finals, the tournament has delivered big on entertainment. Here, we round up the major moments, talking points and flashes of brilliance that have made this year’s competition such a memorable one.
Let’s hear it for the hosts
Japan have been simply sensational. Remarkable victories over Ireland and Scotland saw them reach the knockout stage before they were felled by South Africa, but that tells only half the story. Their breathless, spirited performances have made everyone sit up and take notice. World Rugby would be wise to capitalise on the buzz and get them playing tough opponents on an annual basis.
Cobus Reinach’s dazzling try
It’s not easy selecting a try of the tournament, but for sheer thrills, Cobus Reinach’s first score for South Africa during their 66-7 rout of Canada in the pool stage is definitely up there. A cheeky burst of pace through a crowded midfield saw the Northampton scrum-half create some space for himself. An even cheekier chip over an oncoming opponent was collected, before Reinach touched down. Like a hot knife through butter.
While supporters from across the globe have elevated the tournament by bringing the noise, there’s one fan who has stood out more than any other. His name is Bak-san and he’s appeared at a number of games across the Rugby World Cup. Why fork out all that money on a replica shirt when you can just paint one on your torso? Genius!
Anyone for a red card?
It’s official: the 2019 tournament is the dirtiest ever. Seven red cards were handed out in the pool stage alone, eclipsing the four that were dished out in total in 1995 and 1999, respectively.
Wales and Australia deliver a thriller
A contender for match of the tournament, Wales’ nervy victory over the Wallabies was a turbulent emotional journey set across 80 compelling minutes. The Welsh looked in control at half time, cruising into a 23-8 lead. But then the Aussies fought back, setting up a frantic finish that saw Wales hold on for a 29-25 win. Just.
Keith Earls to the rescue
It was a tackle straight out of a David Attenborough documentary. In the dying stages of Japan’s pool stage victory over Ireland, Kenki Fukuoka made a burst from the centre of the open pitch for the try line. He looked certain to score – except Irish centre Earls was having none of it. Hunting him down much like a lion ruthlessly chases an antelope across a dusty African plain, Earls gobbled up the ground before tackling his opponent.
The All Blacks turn on the style
Watching New Zealand in full, ruthless flow is one of sport’s great pleasures. Unless you’re on the receiving end. Many sage observers suggested their quarter-final with Ireland would be a close-fought thing, but the reality couldn’t have been more different. The defending champions looked as fierce, hungry and skilled as ever, putting in a terrifyingly brilliant performance to swat their opponents aside 46-14.
England banish Aussie demons
Four years ago, England’s dreams of winning a home World Cup were shredded when they were beaten in their final pool stage match against perennial rivals Australia. History wasn’t to repeat itself in the last eight, with the Red Rose casting off their shackles after a pool stage that saw them rarely leave second gear to demolish the Wallabies.
When is the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final on TV?
You can watch all of the action live on ITV from 7am on Saturday 2 November.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, VHD Box. TiVo box or Virgin TV V6 connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
ITV HD is subject to regional variation. ITV HD is not available where STV HD or UTV HD is available.