ITV Cymru Wales has unveiled its on-air line-up and coverage details for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in England.
As in previous tournaments, ITV viewers in Wales will be able to see all the thrills, tension and drama of their nation’s matches throughout the tournament with a bespoke on-air team providing a distinctly Welsh perspective on the action, which will be available to watch for the first time in high-definition.
ITV Cymru Wales will screen comprehensive live coverage of Wales’ Pool A matches against Uruguay, England, Fiji and Australia, as well as preview and highlights programmes, making a total of 17 hours of Rugby World Cup programming for viewers in Wales up to the end of the pool stages.
Frances Donovan will present ITV Cymru Wales’ coverage from the channel’s studios in Cardiff Bay, alongside a star line-up of Welsh rugby legends, including Phil Bennett, Mike Hall, Dafydd James, Adam Jones, Ryan Jones and Rhys Williams.
Former Wales captain and veteran BBC broadcaster Eddie Butler will be part of the ITV Cymru Wales team for the first time during the forthcoming tournament, with former Wales scrum-half Andy Moore alongside him in the commentary box for every Wales match.
WRU Head of Rugby and former England back Josh Lewsey will join the team at pitchside for the crucial England v Wales clash at Twickenham on September 26, while former England coach Brian Ashton will be one of the studio analysts.
Other members of the ITV Wales team include Nick Hartley, who will present the highlights programmes, and Dean Thomas, who will be ITV Wales’ pitchside reporter.
For the first time, all of Wales’ games will be available to watch in HD – on Freeview, Sky, Freesat and Cable – following the launch of the ITV Cymru Wales HD channel at the end of last month.
ITV’s tailored coverage for Welsh viewers will complement the network coverage of every game in the tournament across ITV and ITV4, which sees hosts England in the same group as Wales and Australia.
For all other matches broadcast on the main channel during the tournament, ITV Cymru Wales will take ITV Sport’s coverage, which will be led by presenters John Inverdale, Craig Doyle and Mark Durden-Smith, while star pundits includes Jonny Wilkinson, Brian O’Driscoll, Shane Williams, Francois Pienaar, Michael Lynagh and Sean Fitzpatrick.
In addition, ITV Wales will also be live with the crowds in the official ‘fanzone’ in Cardiff Arms Park, following the drama of the tournament alongside the supporters.
ITV Sport has been bringing the Rugby World Cup exclusively to UK viewers since 1991 and this tournament is set to be ITV Cymru Wales’ most ambitious coverage of the Wales team to date.
Commenting on the channel’s output for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Zoe Thomas, editor of ITV Cymru Wales’ coverage, said: “Welsh rugby fans are in for a feast of action and analysis on ITV Cymru Wales as we prepare for our biggest and most ambitious Rugby World Cup ever.
“With Eddie Butler and Andy Moore providing live commentary, supported by an illustrious team of ex-Wales stars as our studio pundits and expertly anchored by Frances Donovan, viewers will be getting authoritative and insightful coverage of all of Wales’ pool games.
“And there will be up-to-the-minute updates for mobile and tablet users and comprehensive news coverage throughout the tournament in our evening news programme Wales at Six – hopefully capturing a triumphant Wales campaign.”
Phil Henfrey, ITV Cymru Wales’ head of news, added: “We know the special place that international rugby holds for viewers in Wales and it doesn’t get bigger than the Rugby World Cup.
“Viewers in Wales rightly expect the very best from their rugby coverage, so I’m delighted that we’ll be producing live coverage of Wales’ pool games with Eddie Butler as a part of the ITV Wales team.
“Every World Cup game that Wales play is important, but the match against England promises to be a ‘Super Bowl moment’ for the whole country.
“There aren’t many things that can move Simon Cowell and X Factor out of the ITV Saturday night schedule; this game is one of those things and it shows how special this game is going to be for viewers in Wales and for ITV.”
ITV Cymru Wales’ coverage is being produced in association with Welsh independent production company Slam Media.
In addition to live Wales’ games throughout the Rugby World Cup, ITV Cymru Wales will also be showing two special rugby-related programmes ahead of the tournament.
‘It’s a Groggs Life’, to be broadcast at 9.00pm on Tuesday, September 15, looks at the iconic clay figures based on the legends of Welsh rugby, which are celebrating their 50th birthday this year.
Narrated by Eddie Butler, the programme features contributions from Sir Gareth Edwards, Sam Warburton, Max Boyce, Martyn Williams, Tommy David and Graham Henry.
Then at 9.30pm, ‘The Semi-Final That Was’, an updated programme from the 2011 Rugby World Cup about Wales’ agonising semi-final match, will feature recollections from Sam Warburton, Gareth Thomas, Max Boyce and First Minister Carwyn Jones among others.
For further details about ITV Sport’s Rugby World Cup coverage, visit ITV’s official website.
|RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015 on ITV CYMRU WALES|
|TUESDAY 15th SEPTEMBER|
|It’s a Groggs Life 8.00pm|
|The Semi-Final That Was 8.30pm|
|FRIDAY 18th SEPTEMBER|
|World Cup Curtain Raiser Preview: 11.00pm|
|SUNDAY 20th SEPTEMBER|
|WALES v URUGUAY LIVE: 2.00pm Highlights: 10.45pm||14:30|
|FRIDAY 25th SEPTEMBER|
|England v Wales Preview Preview: 10.35pm|
|SATURDAY 26th SEPTEMBER|
|ENGLAND v WALES LIVE: 7.15pm Highlights: 11.30pm (Sun 27 Sep)||20:00|
|THURSDAY 1st OCTOBER|
|WALES v FIJI LIVE: 4.00pm Highlights: 10.30pm||16:45|
|SATURDAY 10th OCTOBER|
|AUSTRALIA v WALES LIVE: 4.20pm||16:45|
|SUNDAY 11th OCTOBER|
|Wales in the Pool Stages Highllights: 10.15pm|