How to Watch Rugby World Cup in USA: Dates, TV Channel, Live Stream

The 2019 Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday in Tokyo, with hosts Japan taking on Russia in the opening game.

Over the next six weeks, 20 teams will battle it out for the right to be crowned world champions.

New Zealand has won the last two World Cups but its aura of invincibility appears to be fading away, while South Africa is enjoying a timely resurgence and Australia has a knack for performing when it matters most.

The Northern Hemisphere's hopes of claiming a World Cup for the first time since 2003 and for only the second time overall lie with England, Wales and Ireland.

North American fans have plenty of reasons to follow the tournament, with the U.S. and Canada both hoping to cause an upset in their respective groups.

Here's all you need to know ahead of the tournament.

Rugby World Cup
The Webb Ellis cup is displayed during a Rugby World Cup 2019 Trophy tour event in New Delhi on August 6, 2018. The Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour visited 18 countries in anticipation of the Rugby World Cup 2019 held in Japan from September 20th to November 2nd. Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty

When and where is the tournament?

The ninth edition of the Rugby World Cup takes place in Japan and runs from 20 September until 2 November.

It is the first time the tournament has been hosted in Asia and outside one of the traditional rugby countries. The World Cup will be played across 12 venues, including Tokyo, Yokohama, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Kobe.

The complete list of fixtures is available here.

TV coverage

All 48 Rugby World Cup games will be broadcast exclusively in the U.S. by NBC Sports Gold.

Additionally, NBCSN will broadcast 26 games live, including the first game of the tournament on Friday, all Team USA matches and the final.

Live stream

Fans can follow the action in a number of ways. Live streams will be available via NBCSportsGold.com and NBC will broadcast the matches on desktop, mobile tablet and connected devices.

Live streams will also be available via Apple and Android devices, as well as Amazon Fire TV and Roku.

How does the World Cup work?

The Rugby World Cup comprises four pools of five teams each, which play each other once. The top two teams from each pool progress to the quarter-finals.

From then on the tournament follows the traditional knock-out format.

Rugby World Cup, Australia, New Zealand
Australia's Samu Kerevi (L) prepares to tackle New Zealand's captain Kieran Read during the Rugby Championship Bledisloe Cup Test match between the New Zealand and Australia in Auckland on August 17. Greg Bowker/AFP/Getty

Which teams are taking part?

World rugby's elite has made the trip to Japan. Aside from the hosts, two-time defending champions New Zealand are among the favorites, along with two-time winners South Africa and Australia.

England, the only Northern Hemisphere nation to lift the trophy, is also taking part as are perennial challengers Ireland and Wales.

France, Scotland and Italy complete the pictures of European teams alongside with Georgia and Russia, while Argentina and Uruguay represent South America.

As usual, the hopes of the Pacific nations rest on Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, while North America is represented by the U.S. and Canada.

Namibia, the lowest-ranked nation among those who have qualified, completes the picture.

Odds

At least in the eyes of the bookmakers, New Zealand remains the team to beat.

According to Oddschecker, the All Blacks are 5/4 favorite to win the World Cup for a third consecutive time, while South Africa and England follow at 4/1 and 9/2.

Ireland, Wales and Australia are 13/2, 8/1 and 14/1 outsiders respectively.

How to Watch Rugby World Cup in USA: Dates, TV Channel, Live Stream | Sports