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Good news, rugby fans — and we know you're out there. NBC and sister channel Universal Sports have reached a deal with the International Rugby Board (IRB) for the U.S. television and digital rights to the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups. This will mark the first time the World Cup — like soccer, the sport's biggest event — will air on U.S. television.

NBC will televise two games from each tournament (including the championship match), and the other games will air on Universal Sports (which is currently available in about 63 million homes and airs dozens of international sports, including cycling, skiing, triathlon, swimming and track and field). The 2011 event will be held in New Zealand from Sept. 9 through Oct. 23. The United States team has qualified for the 20-team field.

"This is a very significant rights acquisition for Universal Sports, especially given the growing popularity of rugby around the world and in America," says David Sternberg, CEO of Universal Sports. "We are delighted to be partnering with the IRB for the Rugby World Cup and other top events, and we look forward to showcasing global rugby, at its highest level, for our audiences across all of our platforms."

Rugby's stature is sure to grow thanks to its inclusion (in a modified, seven-a-side format) in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Rugby last appeared in the Olympics back in 1924.

NBC and Universal Sports have already started televising rugby, including the collegiate nationals earlier this month. Universal Sports will have live coverage on Saturday from the Churchill Cup, a six-team international tournament including the championship game between England and Canada (June 19, 2:30/1:30c) and the consolation "plate final" between the United States and France (5:30/4:30c). Click here for find Universal Sports in your area.

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