It's out with the Cheetahs and Kings, and in with the Sharks, Stormers, Lions and Bulls, as a bright new era begins in club rugby. South Africa's finest join the cream of Scotland, Wales and Italy and, of course, Ireland's dominant provinces in a 16-strong, ultra-competitive league encompassing both hemispheres. Read on as we explain how to watch a United Rugby Championship live stream online for every 2021/22 game, no matter where you are in the world.
Leinster brought the Pro14 era to a close by securing their fourth consecutive title in March. The Irish club will forever be synonymous with the Pro14, but there's nothing like a major revamp to forge new rivalries and breathe new intensity into old ones.
From South Africa, the Lions finished as Super Rugby runners-up for three years in a row from 2017-2019. But the Bulls have won the last two editions of the Currie Cup, beating the Sharks on both occasions.
These teams are used to winning, and with European Rugby Champions Cup places up for grabs - even for the South African teams - how they'd love to embarrass their new stablemates.
So how can you watch all the gripping action this season? Read on as we explain how to watch a United Rugby Championship live stream no matter where you are in the world. You can even watch the rugby FREE online if you're in Ireland or the UK.
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How to watch United Rugby Championship from abroad
We've recommended some of the best places to live stream United Rugby Championship action below. But you might run into a problem trying to access them if you're outside of your country. This is because of something called geo-blocking - best thought of as a kind of digital border.
But we can help you get back to your preferred UCR live stream in no time at all. Simply follow our VPN advice below and you'll soon be up and running with a great bit of software that allows you to relocate your device back to your country of residence - thereby regaining access to all the streaming services and content you normally enjoy at home.
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Using a VPN is as easy as one-two-three...
1. Download and install a VPN - as we say, our top choice is ExpressVPN
2. Connect to the appropriate server location - open the VPN app, hit 'choose location' and select the appropriate location
How to watch United Rugby Championship FREE online in Ireland - or live stream every URC fixture
The great news for fans based in Ireland is that loads of URC games - including the Grand Final - are being shown for FREE!
Irish language channel TG4 has live coverage of 26 games involving the Irish provinces and an additional 16 games featuring non-Irish sides, while RTÉ is showing 26 games featuring the provincial clubs, as well as several knockout matches.
But if all of that isn't enough to scratch your URC itch, Premier Sports is showing every game of the season live in Ireland, with prices starting at €17 per month (then €34 per month after six months).
Or Sky Sports subscribers can add Premier Sports to their package as part of the Sports Extra package, which also includes BT Sport, for €10 a month for the first six months, and €20 a month thereafter.
Outside of Ireland? Watch URC rugby online just like you would at home with the help of a quality VPN.
URC rugby live stream: how to watch United Rugby Championship FREE online in the UK
There are also ways to tune in for FREE in parts of the UK.
In Wales, S4C is showing 27 regular season games live, and BBC Wales is showing 18 games. All playoff games involving Welsh teams will also be shown live on free-to-air. Both channels are available to stream for FREE in Wales via BBC iPlayer.
And BBC Northern Ireland is showing six of Ulster's home games live. If the province reaches the grand final, the game will be shown on BBC Northern Ireland too.
Premier Sports also has the broadcasting rights for Pro14 rugby in the UK, and is showing every game from every round of the action on Premier Sports 1 and 2, as well as sister channel FreeSports.
It's available for £12.99 a month through Sky or Virgin Media, and there's also a streaming-only option available, Premier Player, also costing £12.99 for the full works including La Liga TV and BoxNation.
If you're outside the UK and want to watch URC rugby, don't worry about geo-blocks on your account – simply grab the best BBC iPlayer VPN and follow the instructions above to live stream the action just as you would if you were at home.
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How to watch URC games in South Africa
Live United Rugby Championship coverage comes courtesy of subscription service SuperSport in South Africa.
The network is showing every single game live, and you can also watch the action via the network's streaming service for PC and Mac, as well as via SuperSport's dedicated app.
If you want to catch SuperSport's coverage but are out of the country, you can use a VPN to tune in from anywhere.
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Global URC TV live streams
The United Rugby Championship has launched its very own streaming service - the aptly named URC TV.
It's not available in any of the above-mentioned territories, but can be watched in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and pretty much everywhere else (excepting countries in Sub-Saharan Africa).
For an idea of pricing, in the US it costs $24.99 for a weekend pass, while the whole season would set you back $139.99. Down Under in Australia, you'll be looking at AU$35 and AU$135 respectively.
If you're not bothered about (or not awake for) live coverage, then you can still register for free to watch match highlights. You can watch across a range of devices, including laptops, Androids, iPhone, iPad, Airplay or Chromecast.
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Aatif is a freelance copywriter and journalist based in the UK. He’s written about technology, science and politics for publications including Gizmodo, The Independent, Trusted Reviews and Newsweek, but focuses on streaming at Future, an arrangement that combines two of his greatest passions: sport and penny-pinching.