Armchair guide to the RUGBY WORLD CUP

England captain Owen Farrell
England captain Owen Farrell

The 2019 Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday, September 20, when hosts Japan face Russia in Tokyo.

All the games will be broadcast live via ITV, while you can also tune in to radio coverage with the BBC as well as follow the action online.

The World Cup gets under way this week

The World Cup gets under way this week

Each of the Home Nations will be in action over the opening few days.

So sit back and relax as we provide the essential guide on how fans can make sure they do not miss a pass, tackle, penalty, lineout or – hopefully – plenty of tries.

Friday, September 20

Japan v Russia

Pool A (Tokyo): ITV4 & BBC Radio 5 Live (11.45am BST)

Hosts Japan open proceedings in Tokyo against a Russian side tipped as one of the dark horses to make an impact.

The Cherry Blossoms – then coached by Eddie Jones – caused a seismic shock with their 34-32 defeat of South Africa in England four years ago.

Now on home soil, Japan will hoping to build momentum to ride the wave of exception through to the quarter-finals – then who knows?

Saturday, September 21

New Zealand v South Africa

Pool B (Yokohama): ITV & BBC Radio 5 Live (10.45am)

The first ‘Super Saturday’ of the 2019 World Cup will see some of the tournament heavyweights in action.

Defending champions the All Blacks take on the Springbocks in Yokohama but can either of them make it back to the International Stadium for the final on November 2? Game on.

Australia v Fiji

Pool D (Sapporo): ITV & BBC Radio 5 Live (5.45am)

Any early risers can watch the Wallabies take on Fiji - will the Pacific Islanders cause an upset?

France v Argentina

Pool C (Tokyo): ITV & BBC Radio 5 Live (8.15am)

Or if you want a bit of a lie in, how about a breakfast croissant? France will look to lay down a marker for Europe against the Pumas of Argentina.

Sunday, September 22

Italy v Namibia

Pool B (Osaka): ITV & BBC 5 Live Sports Extra (6.15am)

Ireland v Scotland

Pool A (Yokohama): ITV & BBC Radio 5 Live (8.45am)

After Italy have kicked off Sunday’s action aiming to avoid a potential shock against Namibia, attention turns to Yokohama – and you could need some strong coffee.

Ireland will be out to show why they are the world’s top-ranked side against a Scotland squad facing plenty of questions.

England v Tonga

Pool C (Sapporo): ITV & BBC Radio 5 Live (11.15am)

The games continue to come thick and fast as England open their World Cup campaign against Tonga in Sapporo.

Jones’ squad have built plenty of momentum on the road towards Japan – is now their time to deliver on the big stage?

Whatever the outcome, everything should be wrapped up in time for a nice Sunday roast.

Monday, September 23

Wales v Georgia

Pool D (Toyota): ITV & BBC Radio 5 Live (11.15am)

After a testing few days following the departure of assistant coach Rob Howley from the camp for an alleged breach of World Rugby’s betting regulations, Wales will be glad to be able to focus on match action when their campaign finally gets under way.

Wales struggled past Georgia 13-6 when the countries met in Cardiff during the 2017 autumn Tests – and will be expecting a much-improved display in Toyota to make some positive headlines.

And if you survived the opening few days, there is plenty more action ahead.

England will play their second Pool C match against the United States in Kobe on Thursday, September 26.

Then put down the remote and take a well-earned rest before another bumper weekend of action gets under way.

On Saturday, September 28, Ireland are set to face hosts Japan in Shizuoka.