World Cup 2023: Buff Streams is working (scroll down to that section for the link). Click three or four times to get buttons to work. Click the screen a few times to get the button for full-screen.
I tested seven free rugby streaming sites in September 2023 for the opening weekend of the World Cup.
- Two sites had working streams of the match that were easy to find
- Two had working streams but used tactics like timers or had some links to dodgy websites
- Three listed the match I wanted but all the links led to dodgy websites.
Only one of these sites had a stream with excellent video quality that was easy to find.
So, which site was the best? And which dodgy sites should you avoid like the plague? Read on…
Things To Know Before You Try Streaming Sites
Live free streaming sites are notorious for being cesspools filled with scammers and fraudsters.
I’m going to make some recommendations for which to avoid and which to try out. But before you even try my recommendations, read these cautionary tips.
Good sites can turn bad
Last year, I might have recommended CricFree as my top choice. But you’ll see from my review that it has become super spammy and makes it difficult to find a working stream.
So, you should still approach the site I recommend here with caution. I suspect that these sites sometimes get purchased and the new owners switch to a scammer model.
Use an ad blocker
I tested these sites while using a free ad blocker. Even the best of these sites would be unpleasant to use without one.
This sometimes leaves a small x on the video screen. What’s going on there is that the blocker has stopped an ad from showing but the close button (the x) of the pop-up is still visible.
Some sites ask you to disable your ad blocker in order to use the stream. I bail every time and go elsewhere.
If you’re wondering, I use a popular free Chrome extension called “AdBlock”.
Many sites use fake links and buttons to show spammy adverts
A classic trick for the spammier sites is to display what seems to be the video you want but it’s covered by an “advert” with a big X button.
In the picture below, my ad blocker is ensuring that whatever is in that black central window isn’t shown to me. But I still see the “click close” link.
The other give-away is that the obscured pitch doesn’t have rugby markings!
Unfortunately, these buttons and “helpful” links often take you to gambling websites or more explicit content.
However, there are several sites that do have the stream and will show it when you click on the dodgy link or button a second time. That may seem fair enough – you get one advert and then you get to see the content.
But in my experience, the streams on these sites tend to “fail” at some point and ask you to refresh the screen. This takes you back to the original interface where you have to make two clicks again.
None of my top picks behaved like this when I tested them.
Why You Probably Can’t Avoid All Unwanted Spammy Content
All these sites make their money through advertising revenue from sports-betting websites and casinos.
Even the better streaming sites show so many ads that the video content can be obscured. That’s why I advise you to use an ad blocker to make the sites usable.
But that doesn’t mean that you will completely avoid gambling content.
The worst of these streaming sites pretend to have rugby streams but don’t. When you click on a link, you are taken to a gambling site. I’ll point these scammers out in my review.
The okay-ish sites operate on a Russian roulette basis. They present six links that claim to have the match stream. One or two have a genuine stream. The rest lead to gambling sites.
Yes, this is kinda scammy.
My tip is to right-click on the links and review the new tab. Otherwise, you may find that getting back to the page with alternative links can take more clicks than should be needed.
Watch for new tabs and browser windows
Your ad blocker should stop annoying pop-up adverts with gambling content.
But my blocker didn’t prevent some sites from opening new tabs in my browser and even new browser windows.
The least-worst of these had gambling content. It’s not a big deal to have to go and close these. However, that’s not the most questionable content they throw at you.
Some, but not all, of these sites also make their money by pushing explicit content at you.
During my testing phase, some sites launched multiple browser windows filled with the kind of content that would get you arrested if you were watching it in a public place.
Once again, you simply have to close the tabs and windows. But beware – some of the separate browser windows are launched in a minimized state.
The easiest way to get rid of them all is to close all browser windows at once. You can do this with Chrome on Windows by right-clicking the browser icon and choose “close all windows”.
Top Two Streaming Sites For Rugby Matches
These two websites made it easy to find the rugby match that I was looking for and didn’t make me jump through hoops to get to the stream.
Top pick: LiveTV
This is the URL: http:// livetv556 .me
The left pane of the home page has a list of the upcoming broadcasts by category. The first section of the list is for “Top Events” and rugby doesn’t make that short-cut.
But when I scrolled down to the section marked “Today”, I found the test match I was looking for.
If it’s not in the main list (on a busy sports day), you will find a link to show “all listings” at the bottom of the left pane.
Clicking the link took me to the match page for South Africa versus Wales. The page presented six links that had a quality rating.
This is the only website in this round-up that has this feature. I chose the top-rated stream and the video opened within the page.
I expanded the video to a separate bigger screen without any issue (this didn’t work on some other sites). The video quality was excellent.
I watched the full two-hour stream without any glitches. Aside from that, the site didn’t open any unwanted tabs or browsers.
Scam tip: some of the videos start without sound and show a button at the top saying “click to unmute”. That is often a link to a dodgy site.
However, the only way I could get the sound bar and expansion button to appear was to click a few times to open the dodge pages.
Second choice: CricHD
URL: https:// www. crichd. live
This site shouldn’t be confused with Cric Free, which is more well-known.
The left sidebar has Rugby as an option. This takes you to a page that lists the day’s matches. I quickly found the match I wanted.
When I opened the match page, I noticed a little x obscuring the video. My ad blocker was hiding an advert but the close button was still on show.
Sometimes I’m nervous that these X buttons can be fake links to unwanted content, but this one simply went away when I clicked it. That wasn’t what put this site into second place for me.
The main issue I had was the quality of the video was not as good as the top pick. It was at a lower definition. But if it was the only option available, I’d have taken it.
It also may have just been that particular stream.
Tip: there may be two tabs at the top of the match page for two different channels. If you don’t see the match on one, change to the other tab.
Next Best Sites: Match Streams Were Present But Took Extra Work To Get There
These two sites had a working stream but put hoops in the way. One was much more annoying than the other so they are in the order of better and worse here.
BuffStreams – annoying countdown
URL: https:// buffstreams .sx
The menu on this site is a little confusing because the icon for rugby looks like it may be exclusively for Rugby League.
But when you choose this category, you are presented with both Union and League matches for that day.
You will probably have to click links and buttons twice to activate them. The first click will open a spam tab in your browser but you can x out of that and click the link or button again to get what you want.
When you use an ad blocker, this site applies the penalty of a 30-second countdown timer before you can access the video stream.
This picture shows it a few seconds down.
Even Welsh captain Alun-Wyn Jones is amazed at this imposition!
When the countdown gets to one second, it freezes and shows a link to “click here to close play”. I was a little worried that this was a scammy link but it enabled the video to show a fine stream.
You may have to click the link twice and the play button twice.
The quality of the video was excellent.
Here’s one caveat. I saw someone else commenting that adverts played during the video. I didn’t see this myself.
Russian roulette with RojaDirecta
URL: www. rojadirecta. watch
There was a long list of matches on the home page of this site but the one I wanted wasn’t there.
However, when I clicked on “Rugby Union” in the top menu, it took me to a shorter list with all that day’s games.
The match page had about six different links for streams.
Stream 1 took me to a disabled video and a message telling me to disable my ad blocker. No thanks.
Stream 2 took me to a gambling website.
At this point, I randomly clicked on Stream 5. Amazingly, it was a fine working stream of the match. This is what I mean by Russian roulette.
Sites Where All Links Were Dodgy
CricFree used to be the go-to site for many rugby fans. FirstRowSports is another site that was often recommended.
Maybe I got them on a bad day, but every link I tested was spam or scam.
URL: https:// home. cricfree. io
There are several CricFree sites with different suffixes. I tried the ones ending with .be and .io. Both were the same.
The first problem was that the match page uses the scammy “double click” technique. When you click on a link that should show your options, it takes you to a gambling page with the first click. The second click expands the options.
Every single link was dodgy in a different way.
Some simply went straight to a gambling website.
Two asked me to disable my ad blocker but kindly gave me an alternative. I was presented with a link to click if I wanted to see the content without disabling my ad blocker.
Do you think that actually worked? The dodgy-looking rabbit should tell you that it didn’t.
Another link was an example of another tactic I’ve already mentioned. The apparent stream was obscured behind another window and I was invited to click a link to close it.
For the benefit of the test process, I clicked on that close button. A separate window opened with explicit content.
URL: firstrowsportș. eu
It was easy enough to find the match page that I wanted, and it offered me five links.
Four led to a sports betting page. Bizarrely, one actually led to a working stream. But it was showing a soccer match instead!
URL: live. istream2watch. com
Avoid this site at all costs. I couldn’t even get to a listing of matches.
When I clicked on the “rugby” category on the main page, it took me straight to a dodgy website with explicit content.