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Spark Sport and TVNZ have Rugby World Cup 2019™ covered

  • All 48 matches streaming live on Spark Sport – Spark Sport will stream every match live and on demand on Spark Sport.
  • Twelve matches on TVNZ 1 - TVNZ will broadcast 12 matches on TVNZ 1, including delayed coverage of all New Zealand pool matches and Quarter Final, and LIVE coverage of the Semi Finals and Rugby World Cup 2019 Final.
  • Spark Sport and TVNZ are joining forces to bring together a fresh line-up of commentators and a comprehensive analysis package. All New Zealand matches and other key matches will have Kiwi commentary:
    • Kiwi commentators – games called by Scotty Stevenson and Stephen Donald, with Kimberlee Downs and some of New Zealand’s best-known rugby voices on the side-line. The coverage team will include some of New Zealand rugby’s biggest names, including two-time World Cup winning All Black Conrad Smith in his free-to-air debut.
    • Comprehensive analysis – full pre-match, half-time and post-game analysis and discussion from an expert studio-based team, led by James Gemmell, with augmented reality analysis by former All Black Jon Preston.
  • Spark Sport has a wide range of additional programming to enjoy – including daily, individual match and weekly highlights packages; analysis from The 1014 Rugby; over 30 of the greatest matches from the previous eight Rugby World Cups; interviews with Scotty Stevenson talking to current and past players; and a range of additional content.
  • TVNZ 1 will have in depth news coverage – 1 News, Seven Sharp and Te Karere will be on the ground reporting from Tokyo to ensure the colour of the tournament is captured on and off the field.

Spark Sport and TVNZ have Rugby World Cup 2019 covered, at home and in Japan, delivering 48 games streamed live and on demand on Spark Sport and twelve games free-to-air on TVNZ 1, comprehensive supporting analysis, and in-depth news coverage - on and off the field.


Head of Spark Sport, Jeff Latch says Spark Sport is excited to bring a fresh take on the Rugby World Cup to New Zealand.


“We’ve designed a line-up of presenters and commentators and a range of programming that aims to bring some new thinking to the coverage, while still maintaining the essentials that rugby fans know and love. The talent that we’ve recruited demonstrates that – there are some well-loved names in there, but also some exciting newer talent.


“We’re confident that rugby fans will be impressed by the huge range of content that we’re creating to support what’s shaping up to be an incredibly exciting tournament.”
TVNZ’s GM Sport & Events Melodie Robinson says TVNZ is proud to be the free-to-air partner of Rugby World Cup 2019.  


“At TVNZ we talk a lot about delivering the moments that matter to New Zealanders. We see quality sports content, particularly Rugby World Cup 2019, as a key opportunity to do just that.” 


“But it won’t be quite like the previous four Rugby World Cups I’ve worked on. What’s different about this one is that we’ve brought in software technology, combined with TVNZ’s Augmented Reality capabilities, that will allow us to analyse rugby to a level that hasn’t been seen in this country before.


“Add to that we’ll be balancing the rugby conversation and former players by sprinkling through entertainment stars that you wouldn’t usually see on a rugby broadcast.


“We think it’s an exciting combination that will bring Kiwis all the exhilaration of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Tokyo into living rooms around the country.”


Commentary Team for Rugby World Cup 2019 on Spark Sport and TVNZ


Scotty Stevenson will lead the commentary team. World Cup winning cult hero, Stephen Donald joins him in Japan for his first All Blacks commentating role after finishing the Super Rugby season. 


Scotty and Stephen will be joined from the side-line by a double act of TVNZ’s Kimberlee Downs together with other well-known rugby voices throughout the tournament. These include former All Blacks’ Conrad Smith (from Quarter Finals on), 133 test capped All Black Keven Mealamu, four-time Rugby World Cup participant (and two-time winner), Sir Graham Henry and Tamati Ellison.


All New Zealand matches and other key matches will have Kiwi commentary team; other matches will take the World Feed, featuring a host of well known and loved commentators from around the world.

Pre/Post Match Analysis on Spark Sport and TVNZ


Back in Auckland at TVNZ, the studio team will deliver pre and post-match analysis, with in-depth post-game debate. Studio discussions and game footage will be wrapped into a weekly 1.5-hour highlights package. The studio team includes:


  • James Gemmell – UK based, Kiwi ex-pat Gemmell is returning home from his regular Sky UK hosting duties to anchor the studio team.
  • Isa Nacewa – a Super Rugby stalwart with the Blues and a legend with Irish club Leinster, Nacewa will add his in-depth knowledge of European rugby to the mix
  • 24-year-old All Black, Damian McKenzie, who will bring his unique perspective as a current player.
  • Kristina Sue – New Zealand representative in touch, sevens, rugby league and a 2017 Rugby World Cup winner with the Black Ferns, Sue adds her authority to the studio team.
  • Jon Preston – former All Black, coach and part time broadcaster, Preston rounds out the team with help from Libero, a state-of-the-art augmented reality analysis tool.
  • And keep an eye out for Anika Moa, who will bring her style to interviews with the All Blacks – no rugby clichés allowed, but plenty of banter and music expected.

Spark Sport has a wide range of additional content


Right now, over 30 of the greatest matches from the previous eight Rugby World Cups can be re-lived by Tournament Pass holders – a great incentive to get set up early. These include 20 iconic Rugby World Cup matches involving the All Blacks, introduced by New Zealand rugby greats recalling their highs and lows of the match. 


Plus, Spark Sport has a range of videos from some of the biggest names of the New Zealand game picking their favourite tries, upsets and standout performances from throughout Rugby World Cup history.


During the tournament, fans will be able to access daily, individual match and weekly highlights packages.


In the lead up to and throughout the RWC, The 1014 Rugby crew will be delving deeper into the tournament with a range of content including competitive team analysis, preview and review content, and features on how different teams could win the tournament.


Plus, there will be a range of profiles on Japanese host cities, stadium profiles, press conferences, training sessions and fan and stadium colour pieces.


News from TVNZ


1 NEWS will cover all aspects of the tournament across TVNZ’s news programming.


Andrew Saville, Jenny May Coffin, Matt Manukia, Dewi Preece and Kimberlee Downs will report on the ground in Tokyo for TVNZ 1’s news bulletins.


Seven Sharp’s Jeremy Wells, Te Karere’s Irena Smith and 1 NEWS Now’s Natalia Sutherland will also bring the best rugby stories out of Japan to viewers watching at home.

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