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Looking to watch (or avoid) the rugby in Manchester this weekend? Here's our guide to the best bars in town...

After a thrilling weekend of rugby league, we now have our World Cup Finalists – the Kiwis, who narrowly pipped England to the post 20–18 courtesy of a last gasp Shaun Johnson try and conversion; and the Kangaroos, who ran in 11 tries to win 64–0 against an outclassed Fiji.

The final, kicking off at Old Trafford on Saturday, November 30, is already a confirmed sell-out. However, if you plan on following the party up to Manchester anyway, here are five of the best sporting pubs in the city in which to watch the game.

Meanwhile, for those looking for a decent pint but a rugby-free Saturday afternoon, below is also a list of five decidedly un-sporty bars about town...

The best places to catch all the sporting action:

1. The Lass O’Gowrie, Charles St, M1: Not only one of the best pubs in Manchester to watch sport in, The Lass is – or at least was until very recently – the best pub in the whole country (it won Great British Pub of the Year in 2012, as voted for by the trade press). Its idiosyncratic mish-mash of traditional pub ideals with old-school arcade machines, Dr Who memorabilia, comedy nights, and fringe theatre sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it absolutely does. Really, the Lass is a must visit pub whether you’re looking to watch sport or not.

2. Joshua Brooks, Charles St, M1 Across the trickle of the “River” Medlock, only 10 feet away from the Lass, stands Joshua Brooks, another award winning pub – in this instance, the Manchester Evening News’ venue of the year for both 2010 and 2011. It may be better known for its vast array of club nights, but by day, especially over the weekend, Joshua Brooks is a haven for sports fans, and even gives its neighbour a run for its money in the food and drink stakes, with a selection above and beyond your average pub offering.

3. The Courtyard, Chester St, M1: A short walk down Oxford Road from the Lass and Joshua Brooks, The Courtyard (formerly Scu2) will be teeming with students during term time, though this emphasis on those in academia has its perks, namely dirt cheap beer and food (of surprisingly good quality, considering how little you pay for either). Not only that, it has the option to screen up to five different sporting events simultaneously – including in the sizeable eponymous beer garden – meaning that even the lesser-followed sports often get a look in.


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The best Manchester bars to catch (and avoid) all the Rugby World Cup action
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