The agreement will include the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France ©Getty Images

World Rugby has extended a broadcasting deal with French free-to-air channel TF1 for the next two editions of the Rugby World Cup, including the 2023 event in France.

The governing body said the deal extends a relationship with TF1 which began in 1991.

World Rugby said the broadcaster has delivered some of the largest audiences ever recorded in rugby.

"We are delighted to be extending our long-standing and successful partnership with TF1 group," said Alan Gilpin, World Rugby chief executive.

"We have a golden opportunity to reach and inspire new fans across France with Rugby World Cups in 2022 and 2023 and we know that TF1, with their passion and expertise for world-class live sport, will capture the action, the drama, emotion and story behind the matches perfectly."

The extended partnership will see TF1 provide free-to-air coverage of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, which will take place from October 8 to November 12 in 2022.

TF1 will provide free-to-air coverage of next year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand ©Getty Images
TF1 will provide free-to-air coverage of next year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand ©Getty Images

The women’s event had initially been due to take place this year but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Rugby says the tournament will feature as part of a golden year for women’s rugby, which will include the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The organisation highlighted TF1’s commitment to leading coverage of women’s sport, which saw the broadcaster deliver innovative coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019 and the recent European and World Handball Championships.

TF1 will broadcast coverage of the Rugby World Cup in 2023, as the men’s event returns to the nation for the first time since 2007.

World Rugby says TF1 will bring its passion for rugby to the French public through a blend of programming that will showcase the world’s top 20 men’s teams, the 10 host cities and the nine host venues.

It is claimed this will unite a nation behind rugby and its values.

"We are pleased to offer French viewers free-to-air coverage of this fantastic tournament," said Gilles Pélisson, TF1 group chairman and chief executive.

"This partnership is born out of our commitment to rugby, whose values we are proud to promote to a very large audience, with an ambitious French team that is in a very good state of mind.

France is set to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 ©Getty Images
France is set to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 ©Getty Images

"We are also very happy to offer a very eventful exposure to the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2021 and thus confirm our commitment to women's sport.

"It also shows our desire to forge strong ties with the public and to allow them to experience great sporting emotions on our channels."

World Rugby said the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan saw 857 million people around the world watch competition through their rights-holding broadcast partners, a reported increase of 26 per cent from the previous tournament in England.

France’s hosting of the 2023 tournament could see TF1 break its record rugby audience of 18.7 million, which was achieved during the 2011 final between France and hosts New Zealand.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup will begin on September 8 in 2023 at the Stade de France.

A special Facebook Live show will take place next week to mark the two-year countdown to the opening match.