TV3 is fielding a team of rugby experts and broadcasting greats to bring New Zealanders the All Blacks’ big games, Live and free-to-air, kicking off with the tournament’s first big grudge match, New Zealand v France at Eden Park, on September 24.
Building on the award-winning experience gained in France in 2007, when TV3 was the official Rugby World Cup Broadcaster, the channel’s team will bring the year’s most important sporting event into Kiwi homes, with an unmatched blend of expertise, entertainment and passion.
3 News sports anchor Hamish McKay will be joined in the commentary box by legendary All Blacks, Andrew Mehrtens and Richard Loe (LIVESport), whose reputations for hard play, no-holds-barred comment (Loe) and a witty, unorthodox, cheeky flair (Mehrtens) promise to lift their game out of reach of the opposition.
3’s match coverage will be hosted by James Gemmell, a former 3 News sports journalist who has become one of British Sky Broadcasting’s most respected rugby broadcasters. He will be joined by former All Black and popular personality Josh Kronfeld.
MediaWorks TV Head of Sport John McDonald says the TV3 line-up is a “dream team” that will add depth, expertise and a sense of fun and entertainment to the viewer experience.
“At TV3 we live and breathe rugby,” McDonald says. “From Mike McRoberts and Hilary Barry to our wonderful receptionists, there are no All Black supporters more passionate than those in this building.
“The prospect of Mehtrens, McKay and Loe calling the big games, with the inimitable Josh Kronfeld on the sideline, plus James Gemmell, one of the most talented sports broadcasters this country has produced, adds up to must-see TV.”
TV3 will broadcast delayed coverage of the opening match between New Zealand and Tonga on September 9, as well as selected pool and quarterfinal games. The key quarter-finals, semi-finals, the bronze final and final will all be screened Live, free-to-air, and in glorious high-definition.
Extra Programming to KEEP up with the Play:
Rocked the Nation 3 – 100 NZ Sporting Moments – Wed at 8.30pm on TV3 from 17 August.
Cup Talk – Either 10.30pm or 11pm on TV3, daily from 8 September
One off the Ruck – Online at 3news.co.nz from 16 August. A new episode each week.
Over and above the match broadcasts, TV3 has a host of content that celebrates Rugby World Cup 2011. Across Firstline, 3 News, Campbell Live and Nightline, the 3 News team will continue to bring Kiwis the very latest in Rugby World Cup 2011 news and analysis.
A special nightly RWC chat show Cup Talk will be broadcast at either 10.30pm or 11pm, every night of the tournament. Hosted by James Gemmell, Cup Talk will be a fresh, lively show with a highly competitive format that puts top rugby broadcasters and opinion makers head-to-head in an informal battle of opinions, observations and outrageously funny claims.
Join Gemmell as he battles to control the guests as they debate the news of the day, every day of the tournament. Regulars will include Merhtens and McKay, Ben Hurley, Wynne Gray, Phil Gifford, Miles Davis, and a host of other former All Blacks, rugby enthusiasts, and local and international sports journalists. Plus, viewers will be invited to get add their thoughts to the debate through social media.
And as the nation counts down to Rugby World Cup 2011, the 3 News team is going the extra mile, creating a special online only rugby show. Hosted by Hilary Barry, One off the Ruck pits Mike McRoberts and John Campbell against Hamish McKay and Jim Kayes in a panel discussion show about all things rugby.
Director of News and Current Affairs Mark Jennings says he would not be surprised if One off the Ruck became the surprise hit of Rugby World Cup 2011.
“Our male anchors all think they are pretty hot when it comes to rugby ………..actually, they aren’t bad, and Hilary is very knowledgeable about the game too . This will be a fun, interesting programme and special guests will be invited on to the show. If anybody gets long-winded, Hilary will run the cutter on them.
“3 News.co.nz is the perfect platform for this type of show, and if it is successful we are likely to run it during the Super 15 as well.
“From our news bulletins across the day, to Hamish’s role in the commentary team, to One off the Ruck, we’ll not only cover all the rugby in depth, but all the news that spills out of this huge event .“
McKay himself has been waiting since the 2007 World Cup for the All Blacks to face France again – this time on New Zealand soil.
“It was a hugely disappointing time,” he says. “In 1999 and 2007 it was France who brought an unceremonious end to All Black World Cup dreams.
“Simply, the pool game in 2011 is about making a statement to the rest of the teams. No more caving in to the French. No more choking. The only team who can beat the All Blacks in RWC 2011 is the All Blacks.”
McKay is relishing sharing getting back into a World Cup commentary box..
“Andrew Mehrtens in 2007 proved he is without peer in the commentary box. He’s an astute analyst with a sharp, dry and clever wit, who is well liked from the Cape to Bluff. And who can ever forget the incredibly rich and equally traumatic role he has played in All Black Rugby World cup history.
“With Andrew Mehrtens in my team, I reckon we will do a top job right through to the big moment late on October 23rd.”