Japan vs South Africa live stream: how to watch the Rugby World Cup for free

Four years on from the sides’ dramatic pool stage match in the last Rugby World Cup, Japan will be aiming for another upset as they face South Africa on home turf, this time in their first-ever quarter-final, on Sunday 20th October at 11.15 BST.

An upset it would be, but not so major as the one that happened in Brighton: Japan have become a force to be reckoned with in international rugby, underlined by their unblemished record so far in this tournament, which included a 19-12 victory over fellow quarter-finalists Ireland.

Topping Pool A allowed them to avoid New Zealand, winners of the past two competitions and the only side to beat South Africa in this one, and they’ll be confident that their expert handling and the pace of Kotaro Matsushima and Kenki Fukuoka on the wings will cause their opposition trouble going into this tie.

Two-time world champions South Africa have already proven they can beat the Japanese, however, recording a comprehensive 41-7 victory in a warm-up match in September – the first time the sides had met since that game in 2015.

Coach Rassie Erasmus has named the same starting XV that beat Italy 49-3 in the penultimate pool stage game, many of whom were rested for the 66-7 mauling of Canada that earned a place in the knockouts. That leaves nominee for World Player of the Year 2018, hooker Malcolm Marx on the bench with Mbongeni Mbonambi keeping his place.

The Springboks have scored an impressive 172 points with only 13 conceded since opening with defeat to the All Blacks.

Can Japan secure a top-four finish on home turf, or is it time South Africa won their third world title? Here we’ve put together a guide for how you can watch this and all the other knockout stage matches live on TV, online and on the go, wherever you are in the world.

Watch Japan vs South Africa in the UK

(Image credit: ITV)

ITV is where you’ll find all the action from the World Cup if you’re situated in the UK, meaning you won’t have to pay a penny for the privilege. Its +1 channel might also be of use if you’re hoping for an extra hour in bed before the morning start.

As well as showing all the matches live, it also has a late-night highlights show for those of us who will be at work, asleep or otherwise engaged on Sunday morning.

ITV has no 4K facility, but games will be available in HD on your television or standard definition via its website and the ITV Player app.

Find out below how you can access those services even if you’re not in the UK on Sunday morning.

Watch Japan vs South Africa from abroad using a VPN

Trying to access ITV streams from outside the UK – if you’re on holiday or working abroad, for example – is still a problem. The service will know your location based on your IP address, and will automatically block your access – even if you’re a UK national. This will be the same if you try to access any geo-blocked stream from around the world.

So, you’ll need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to help you get around this obstacle. A VPN creates a private connection between your device and the internet, such that the servers and services you’re accessing aren’t aware of what you’re doing. All the information passing back and forth is entirely encrypted.

VPNs are as useful for banking as they are at trying to watch video content or access websites that people in your location are not supposed to do. So, whether you want to watch live rugby, enjoy another country’s Netflix library or just keep your browsing data private, then they’re well worth considering.

There are many VPN providers out there, with some more reliable and safe than others. As a rule, we’d suggest a paid-for service and would recommend the following:


You can get three months free when you sign up to a year-long plan, bringing VPN access to smart devices including the Amazon Fire TV Stick, laptops, TVs and both Android and iOS mobiles and tablets. Express also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Which comes in at as little as $2.99 (£2.29) per month and features 24/7 assistance

Once you’ve made your choice, all you need to do is sign in to your VPN service through whichever device you’d like to use to watch the match. When prompted to select a server, you need to pick one which is based in the country whose content you’d like to access. Then navigate to the relevant video streaming app or website and you’re in.

You can find a full list of the world’s broadcasters with rights to show live Rugby World Cup matches here.

Watch Japan vs South Africa in the USA

(Image credit: NBC Sports)

Exclusive rights to show the Rugby World Cup in the USA belong to NBC Sports Gold, which is offering a pass to stream all 48 live matches across the tournament, commercial-free, for $199.99. A single match pass otherwise costs $29.99 – a saving if you think your nation is unlikely to make it past the quarters.

Better value for Rugby fans, though, would be its all-access premium pass, which will set you back $229.99 but also unlocks a whole season’s worth of action, including the Six Nations and Rugby League Premiership. This pass would cost $79.99 on its own, without World Cup coverage.

You can choose your NBC Sports Gold Rugby World Cup pass here.

If you’re going to be out of the country over the next few weeks, you can still use your pass with a VPN. See our above section to find out how to access geo-blocked streams.

Knockout stage fixtures

All times shown are GMT.


England vs Australia, 8.15am – Saturday 19th

New Zealand vs Ireland, 11.15am – Saturday 19th

Wales vs France, 8.15am – Sunday 20th

Japan vs South Africa, 11.15am – Sunday 20th


England/Australia vs New Zealand/France, 9.00am – Saturday 26th

Wales/France vs Japan/South Africa, 9.00am – Sunday 27th

Third-place play-off

Loser semi-final 1 vs Loser semi-final 2, 9.00am – Friday 1st


Winner semi-final 1 vs Winner semi-final 2, 9.00am – Saturday 2nd