Morgan Freeman has admitted that he knows very little about rugby - despite starring in a film about the sport's famous 1995 World Cup in South Africa.

The Oscar winner, who is hotly tipped to be nominated for Best Actor at this year's Academy Awards for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela in ‘Invictus’, said he was not a sports fan but insisted the movie did not concentrate on rugby.

He said at the movie's UK premiere in London's Leicester Square: "I wasn't a rugby fan - I didn't know beans about rugby. I still know little to nothing about rugby.

"At home sometimes when you get down to the World Series or National Football League play-offs or the NBA play-offs, I might watch. But I'm not an avid sports fan at all."

He continued: "It isn't based on rugby. Everyone keeps saying it's based on rugby - it incorporates rugby, but it's based on Mandela."

Freeman, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Million Dollar Baby in 2004, wore sunglasses on the red carpet but denied he was trying to upstage director Clint Eastwood, who directed both movies.

"The sunglasses are merely because the light is hurting my eyes. I'm not trying to be cooler than him - that's too much of a challenge," he laughed.