Broadcaster ITV’s Rugby World Cup advert insists the 2023 tournament in France is ‘too close to call’

The new Rugby World Cup advert from British broadcaster ITV dares to resurrect English hopes with a gently humorous dip into the occult.

ITV is the rights holder for the Rugby World Cup and has been for all ten tournaments dating back to 1987. It will broadcast all 48 matches from France on ITV1, ITV4 and streaming channel ITVX.

Related: England Rugby World Cup squad


The advert for its Rugby World Cup coverage sees a nervous England fan turn to a medium for reassurance about the 2003 champions’ chances in this year’s tournament in France.

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But the psychic’s repeated turns of some rugby-related tarot cards reveal that the level of the opposition means that the competition in France is too close to call. 

Intriguingly, despite their recent form, England’s card is named ‘The Resurrected”. The suggestion is that – even against the strongest opposition, including “The Champions”, “The Grand Slammers”, “The Legends”, “The Giant Killers”, and “The Hosts” – Steve Borthwick’s side have a chance. 

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Make of that – and the rush through several other nations – what you will. 

This is not the first time that broadcasters have turned to humour to try to sell a tournament. Back in 2012, the BBC axed an ad campaign for the Six Nations that it feared was “anti-English”.


And, car maker Renault – which sponsors the France national men’s side – pulled this popular cheeky little advert out of mothballs in time for the 2023 tournament on home soil.

It claims the credit for a number of modern – and not-so modern sports – on behalf of France. But it admits this year’s host nation did not ‘invent rugby’. It does, however, insist they ‘reinvented’ it.

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