Official Launch of Brand-New United Rugby Championship
RTÉ and TG4 unite to bring Irish audiences over 150 hours of rugby action free-to-air.
Coverage kicks-off on RTÉ and TG4 on September 24. Connacht, Munster and Leinster all live in Round 1
Pic: Inpho Photography – Jacqui Hurley, Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill, Daire O’Brien and Gemma Ní Chionnaith
As the brand-new URC is officially launched, RTÉ and TG4 have announced that together they will deliver over 150 hours of world class club rugby to Irish audiences free-to-air.
Games involving all four Irish provinces will be live and free-to-air on Irish television as the URC kicks off its inaugural season next weekend.
RTÉ and TG4’s live, free-to-air coverage of the new United Rugby Championship begins with Connacht live on TG4 on Friday 24 September, followed by an action-packed rugby Saturday (25 September) as Leinster are live on TG4, and Munster live on RTÉ.
RTÉ will broadcast live television, radio and online coverage of 26 games featuring the Irish provinces in the league, plus additional knockout matches. There will also be extensive highlights and analysis each week on Against the Head on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.
TG4’s Rugbaí Beo will continue to be the station’s flagship rugby programme and will broadcast 26 games involving Irish provincial clubs and an additional 16 games featuring international club sides. Spórt TG4 will also have exclusive behind the scenes action from the competition across its social media channels.
The URC final will also be delivered free-to-air with RTÉ and TG4 broadcasting it live on alternate years.
Declan McBennett, Group Head of Sport, RTÉ said: “Throughout the year RTÉ Sport has seen the very best of Irish athletes compete domestically and internationally against first class opposition at an elite level. Being in a position to provide free-to-air coverage of the provinces to our audience in the newly reconstituted URC adds a further dimension to that and allows us to ensure our best rugby players are seen and seen to inspire future generations who want to one day wear their provincial and national jersey.”
Rónán Ó Coisdealbha, TG4 Head of Sport said: “TG4 has been bringing interprovincial rugby to Irish Audiences since the first days of the Celtic League in 2001, and we are looking forward to taking this next step with the URC and to see the South Africa ‘Super’ teams become part of our Rugbaí Beo line-up. This partnership with RTÉ galvanises TG4’s commitment to provide the best of sporting action to our audiences, and to making that coverage free-to-air and accessible to all fans.”
Martin Anayi, CEO, United Rugby Championship said “The widespread return of URC and the provinces to Free-to-Air television in Ireland is a real cause for excitement and we can’t wait for that energy to be unleashed on the opening weekend with some cracking games on RTÉ and TG4 involving Leinster and Munster against two of South Africa’s heavyweights in the Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks. We have talked about the potential of our new partnership with RTÉ and TG4 and now we get to see if come to life in a week’s time.”
TG4’s Rugbaí Beo
TG4’s Rugbaí Beo lead by presenter Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill, will feature expert analysis from Eimear Considine, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Niamh Ní Dhroma, Marcus Horan, Ronan Loughney, Eoghan Ó Neachtain and Eamonn Molloy along with a host of others. Match commentary will be provided by Garry Mac Donncha. Gemma Ní Chionnaith will take over presenting duties from Máire Treasa while she is on maternity leave later in this year
URC coverage will get underway on TG4 with a bumper weekend of action. On Friday 24 September Connacht travel to Wales to take on Cardiff Rugby (7.30pm TG4 & TG4 Player). And on Saturday 25 September Leinster take on the Vodacom Bulls at the Aviva Stadium (4.50pm TG4 & TG4 Player).
RTÉ URC Live
RTÉ’s URC Live will be presented by Jacqui Hurley and Daire O’Brien with a top-class line-up of panellists.
RTÉ’s URC Live kicks off on Saturday 25th September on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player with Jacqui Hurley live from Thomond Park as Munster begin their campaign against the Cell C Sharks with Donal Lenihan alongside Hugh Cahill on commentary.
RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ2fm will have full live commentary on the key games involving the Irish provinces as well as reports, analysis, and interviews throughout the season.
Full RTÉ & TG4 fixture list below.
The RTÉ / TG4 joint TV broadcast output contract has been awarded to Iris Productions. The Galway based production company spearheaded many innovations in their previous rugby coverage on TG4, including behind-the-scenes referee briefings and audio-snoops on coaches and players. NEP Ireland will provide OB facilities.
RTÉ & TG4 live televised fixtures
Friday 24th September
Cardiff v Connacht, TG4 & TG4 Player
Saturday 25th September
Leinster v Vodacom Bulls, TG4 & TG4 Player
Munster v Cell C Sharks, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Friday 1st October
Connacht v Vodacom Bulls TG4 & TG4 Player
Saturday 2nd October
Dragons v Leinster, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Munster v DHL Stormers, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Friday 8th October
Ulster v Benetton, TG4 & TG4 Player
Saturday 9th October
Leinster v Zebre, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Connacht v Dragons, TG4 & TG4 Player
Sunday 10th October
Scarlets v Munster, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Friday 15th October
Ulster v Emirates Lions, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Saturday 16th October
Benetton v Ospreys, TG4 & TG4 Player
Leinster v Scarlets, TG4 & TG4 Player
Munster v Connacht, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Friday 22nd October
Scarlets v Benetton, TG4 & TG4 Player
Glasgow v Leinster, TG4 & TG4 Player
Saturday 23rd October
Ospreys v Munster, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Connacht v Ulster, TG4 & TG4 Player
Friday 26th November
Connacht v Ospreys, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Saturday 27th November
Cell C Sharks v Scarlets, TG4 & TG4 Player
Vodacom Bulls v Munster, TG4 & TG4 Player
Leinster v Ulster RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Friday 3rd December
Leinster v Connacht, TG4 & TG4 Player
Saturday 4th December
Emirates Lions v Munster, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
DHL Stormers v Cardiff, TG4 & TG4 Player
Sunday 26th December
Ulster v Connacht, TG4 & TG4 Player
Munster v Leinster, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Saturday 1st January
Connacht v Munster, TG4 & TG4 Player
Ulster v Leinster, TG4 & TG4 Player
Friday 7th January
Leinster v Emirates Lions, TG4 & TG4 Player
Saturday 8th January
Connacht v DHL Stormers, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player
Munster v Ulster, RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player