New Zealand rugby punters are being urged to trial Spark Sport before the Rugby World Cup kicks off to ensure they encounter no problems.

The opening ceremony and first match between Japan and Russia will play live on Spark Sport and TVNZ One from 9.30pm on Friday.

In anticipation of any issues, Spark told the Herald it had increased its resources to Spark Sport's care team to assist anyone who needed help.

"The best thing people can do right now is to log in and test their stream now before Saturday," Spark said in a statement today.


"They should also ensure they have downloaded or updated the latest version of the app in the app store to ensure they have the most up to date in-app features."

By logging on and testing how Spark Sport works now, customers could avoid frustration on match day if there were to be any problems.

The All Blacks hope to make it three World Cup's in a row in Japan. Photo / Photosport
The All Blacks hope to make it three World Cup's in a row in Japan. Photo / Photosport

However, Spark was confident its streams wouldn't face any red cards during all 48 matches of the Rugby World Cup.

"We're confident we've done everything we could do to ensure customers have a good viewing experience throughout the tournament," Spark said.

"If [customers] are having issues they should get in touch with us so we can get them sorted before kick-off."

If there was a widespread issue with the stream, customers would be diverted to TVNZ Duke where they could watch the match.

A message would likely appear on their app alerting customers of any issues and the social media and care team would update and help throughout every match.

There would be a "suite of self-help resources" available on the Spark Sport site.


NZME will also have extensive coverage of the Rugby World Cup.

Live commentaries will be broadcast on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB.

All Black legend Wayne "Buck" Shelford would also headline a star-studded panel providing analysis and expertise for NZME's wide-ranging coverage of the World Cup.

The Beyond the Game show debuts tomorrow evening with a special Rugby World Cup preview show on

And be sure to check into the Herald every day throughout the Rugby World Cup for expert analysis and all your tournament news.

Where can you watch the Rugby World Cup?

A contingency plan had been put in place if there was a widespread and significant issue stopping viewers from watching the RWC. Cup.

Matches would be switched from Spark Sport live to broadcast on TVNZ Duke.

Spark Sport wasn't anticipating any issues with its stream but boss Jeff Latch said it was better to have a back-up plan, rather than not at all.

In total, 12 of the 48 matches would be available free to air via TVNZ and through a free-to-air offer from Spark Sport.

All pool and knock out matches featuring the All Blacks would be available for free, streamed on Spark Sport and broadcast on TVNZ 1.

However, New Zealand pool games and the quarter-finals would be played for free but with an hour delay, with the semifinals and final played live.

Head of Spark Sport, Jeff Latch. Photo / Leon Menzies
Head of Spark Sport, Jeff Latch. Photo / Leon Menzies

How to watch the Rugby World Cup on your TV

Smart TV:

Spark Sport is available as an app on 2017 or newer Samsung, Panasonic and Sony Android Smart TVs or 2019 model LG Smart TVs. Head to the app store on your Smart TV and download the free Spark Sport app, from there just sign in and watch.

HDMI: Plug one end of the HDMI court into your laptop and the other into your TV, which will mirror the screens. Now, on your laptop open an internet browser, sign into Spark Sport and start watching.

Chromecast: Connect your Chromecast to the same WiFi network as your smartphone or tablet. Then, download the Spark Sport app on your device and click on the Cast icon when you want to stream to your TV.

Apple TV: Through the App Store, download and install the Spark Sport app and then stream.

The Rugby World Cup can be watched live on Spark Sport. Photo / Supplied
The Rugby World Cup can be watched live on Spark Sport. Photo / Supplied

TV and streaming sales

Noel Leeming and The Warehouse stores had been flat out with an increase of people buying smart TVs and streaming devices in the lead up to the World Cup.

Tech specialists for Noel Leeming had also seen an increase in demand for TV installations, general manager of merchandise Jason Bell said.

"We have seen a significant spike in the sale of TVs and streaming devices, with sales in this category almost doubling in the lead up to the rugby season."

Spark Sport and Rugby World Cup warmup

The warmup match for the Rugby World Cup between Japan and South Africa was Spark Sport's most viewed event since it launched in March.

The next day, Spark said in a statement it was pleased with how it went and "key performance measures and real-time monitoring tracked well".

"The feedback we've received through our channels and social media has been largely positive with most customers reporting a great viewing experience.

"A small minority of customers reported isolated user-related device issues and our care teams worked to help them troubleshoot."

Australia's previous streaming issues

Australian telco Optus sub-licensed its rights to public broadcaster SBS for the FIFA World Cup last year after streaming issues.

Football fans were constantly met with frozen screens, buffering and service interruptions and error messages during the cup.

Spark vowed it would get things right for the Rugby World Cup in June last year, adding it was confident in its ability.

Sevu Reece runs through drills during a training session at Kashiwa no Ha Park Stadium. Photo / Getty Images
Sevu Reece runs through drills during a training session at Kashiwa no Ha Park Stadium. Photo / Getty Images

Key dates for Rugby World Cup

Opening match:

Japan v Russia, Friday, September 20, 10.45pm.

All Blacks' first match: New Zealand v South Africa, Saturday, September 21, 9.45pm.

All Blacks' second match: New Zealand v Canada, Wednesday, October 2, 11.15pm.

All Blacks' third match: New Zealand v Namibia, Sunday, October 6, 5.45pm.

All Blacks' fourth match: New Zealand v Italy, Saturday, October 12, 5.45pm.

Quarter-finals: October 19 to October 20.

Semifinals: October 26 and October 27.

Bronze final: November 1.

Grand final: November 2.