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Anger as rugby fans set to miss World Cup warm-up

THOUSANDS of Irish rugby fans will miss a World Cup warm-up game because of an "agreement" between England's Rugby Football Union and Sky Sports.

RTE has said its hands are tied and there is no possibility of a last-minute deal being reached to allow the game to be aired on terrestrial TV.

The broadcaster came in for criticism from an opposition TD who said the news would "disappoint" thousands of families.

Ireland will host England at the Aviva Stadium on August 27.

Sky Sports has secured the exclusive rights to show the game live, with both RTE and BBC sharing permission to air highlights.

It emerged this week that the Irish Rugby Football Union had accepted a demand from its British counterpart that Sky Sports control exclusive broadcasting rights for the fixture.

The body has rejected suggestions it was bullied into accepting the demand, claiming that the decision had "satisfied" all stakeholders.

"It's not a case of the RFU calling the shots," a spokeswoman told the Herald.

"All of our partners, including RTE and the BBC, were briefed on the matter."