The Six Nations Championship, aka NatWest 6 Nations, is an iconic event in the sports universe. With over 135 years of history, six nations competing (and two more anxious to join), it’s no wonder the championship is rugby’s greatest annual event with a humongous fan base in and outside Europe and one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States.
Ireland’s Grand Slam success was a thrilling conclusion to the last season while England, an all-time record winner, finished the season fifth with a defeat, which is now officially its worst performance since 2006. All eyes are now on the prestigious Player of the Championship award, so cast your vote and make it count.
Where to stream 6 Nations online
Fortunately, there are plenty of channels airing 6 Nations across Europe and in the U.S. All of the fixtures in the 6 Nations are available to watch live and to stream on demand – but it depends on where you are:
- The UK rugby fans can traditionally watch 6 Nations on BBC (and BBC iPlayer), ITV Hub, and TVPlayer.com, a free, legal UK-based streaming service.
- S4C is licensed to air 6 Nations in Wales.
- In Ireland, you can watch 6 Nations via TV3.
- DMAX has the right to broadcast 6 Nations in Italy.
- FR2 airs 6 Nations domestically, in France.
- The growing U.S. fan base and the British expats in the U.S. can stream 6 Nations on NBC (the entirety of Rugby Pass costs $60) and Sling TV, which covers NBC among a gazillion of other sports streaming channels.
As you can see, the choice is ample and you can watch your 6 Nations in pretty much any language as long as you are in one of the above countries. The good news is you can watch 6 Nations for free in the UK because most of the above channels are free-view terrestrial, except for NBC and Sling TV.
Why use a VPN to stream 6 Nations
The bad news is you still need to be in one of the above countries to watch or stream 6 Nations on demand because each of the channels is geo-restricted due to licensing restrictions.
Even if you have a valid NBC or Sling TV subscription, you can’t watch 6 Nations from outside the U.S. Or if you are a British expat with a valid TV license, you can not watch 6 Nations on BBC from abroad. And despite 6 Nations being a multinational event with wide coverage, “abroad” still encompasses a whole lot of countries.
Enter VPN. A Virtual Private Network is a service that routes your Internet traffic through its servers. If you connect to a U.K.-based server, you get a U.K Internet Protocol (IP) address and appear as if coming from the U.K. Consequently, your streaming service (BBC iPlayer, for instance) recognizes you as coming from the U.K. and you can watch 6 Nations the way you usually do.
Besides unlocking geo-restricted content, VPNs bundle a laundry list of benefits:
- Security – a VPN encrypts your Internet traffic, obscuring it from your snooping Internet Service Provider, as well as from hackers preying on your data on open Wi-Fi networks.
- No Censorship – by allowing you to swap your IPs at will, a VPN lets you bypass not only streaming geo-blocks, but a huge variety of firewalls in your school or at work, or government-imposed. With a VPN you can access the world of dissident blogs, uncensored news and investigative sites, Steam games, Netflix shows, and iTunes apps without breaking a sweat.
- Semi-Anonymity and Privacy Online – I’m not a fan of the claims of complete anonymity with a VPN. Yes, a VPN helps you hide your identity at various stages of your browsing, but to remain completely anonymous you need to meet a ton of other prerequisites (anonymous payment, anonymous accounts with the websites you visit and use, etc.). Still, a VPN is by far the most effective tool to avoid being profiled by your ISP, social media giants like Facebook, copyright trolls, and surveillance agencies.
How to stream 6 Nations from anywhere in the world with a VPN
- Buy a subscription to a VPN service (see the list below for a selection of providers that unblock 6 Nations streaming).
- Install a VPN client on your device. Fortunately, most VPNs offer cross-platform software that supports all major desktop and mobile operating systems, as well as Kodi boxes, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and routers. Just make sure your VPN supports your device before subscribing long-term.
- Launch your VPN client and log in.
- Choose a UK server to stream BBC iPlayer, or a U.S. server to stream NBC or Sling TV and hit “Connect.”
- Open a clean version of your browser with cache and DNS deleted.
- Go to BBC iPlayer/ ITV Hub/ TVPlayer.com (or NBC/Sling TV) and log into your account. You should be able to stream your 6 Nations now, wherever you are.
A word of caution on free VPNs from the likes of Hola – steer well clear. The problem with most free VPNs is privacy and security, or the absence thereof. By providing free services, these VPNs log your activities and personally identifiable information from top to bottom. If you think that’s a trade-off you can live with, think again – the EU authorities are cracking down on sports streaming. Rugby might not be as tightly monitored as the soccer Premier League just yet, but you can already see the shape of things to come in sports streaming regulations.
Best VPNs for streaming 6 Nations
The above VPNs have been vetted as one of the most efficient in a variety of categories – Best VPN for BBC iPlayer, Best VPN for Sports Streaming, Best VPN for the UK, Best VPN for the USA, and Best VPN for France. They meet a variety of requirements for streaming 6 Nations – servers in all the relevant locations (UK, USA, France, Italy, Ireland), speeds apt for HD streaming, and airtight privacy and security specs. Hope this helps you find the right VPN to stream 6 Nations from anywhere in the world you may be located.
Our top pick!
- Always evades internet control in the PRC
- Keeps ahead of the Netflix VPN detection algorithm
- Benchmark tests show excellent speed
- More US city locations than its rivals
- Includes malware protection
- No-logs policy
- No limit on the number of devices you can connect at the same time
- SOCKS5 proxy, which its main rivals don’t have
- More VPN servers in more US cities to dodge blackouts