Saturday 17 March 2018

A lot of Irish fans will have to make alternative arrangements to watch historic All Blacks clash in Chicago

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

After a few weeks of Pro12 action to pique the interest of fans, the rugby season really gets going this Saturday.

The opening Leinster v Munster clash every year - traditionally played before the first round of European fixtures - signals the start of serious competition, with teams now having a full deck of internationals - injuries aside - to choose from.

Read more: Joe Schmidt calls up Joey Carbery and Darren Sweetnam

After this weekend's Irish derbies we have two rounds of Champions Cup rugby to savour before coming into some mouthwatering autumn tests.

There is no let-up for the Irish team after a brutal three test summer tour of South Africa, with two fixtures against the All Blacks and a clash with Michael Cheika's Australia forthcoming, as well as a run out against Canada.

The first game against New Zealand will be extra special, as the game is set to be played in front of over 60,000 fans at Chicago's Soldier Field.

The historic encounter on American soil has long been looked forward to by Irish fans, but a large number of supporters will have to make special TV arrangements to view the game.

Eir Sport today announced that they will air the opening autumn test fixture, to be played on November 5, which means that Virgin Media subscribers will be unable to watch the contest.

A dispute between Eir and Virgin saw the channel - and BT Sports - dropped from the TV subscriber before the start of the season. RTE will only be showing the three subsequent autumn tests.

The game kicks off at 8pm, and regardless of how you end up watching it, it should be a thrilling start to the international rugby season.

Online Editors

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