Many of the biggest names in rugby, among them World Cup winners and a former World Player of the Year, will feature among SuperSport’s analysts for the Rugby World Cup.
Unveiling broadcast plans for the tournament, SuperSport confirmed a 24-hour channel for the duration of the event, plus six magazine shows to deliver unrivalled coverage.
Apart from SuperSport’s established line-up, among them John Smit and the Ndungane brothers, international guests will include England’s Jeremy Guscott, SA-born French international Scott Spedding, World Cup winner Nehe Milner-Skudder of New Zealand, countryman Joe Rokocoko, Jacques Burger of Namibia and John Plumtree, the former Sharks coach from New Zealand.
SA guests are headed up by Schalk Burger, plus Nick Mallett and Deon Davids.
“We scoured the world for the best talent and I’m delighted we were successful,” said Gideon Khobane, chief executive of SuperSport. “Such is their esteem, we could just as well assemble a World XV.”
SuperSport 1 will offer 24-hour World Cup content from September 20, the opening day of the tournament.
Before then, from September 9-19, SS1 will present an array of historical content (highlights, documentaries, profiles), setting the scene for the 48-match event in Japan.
During this period, SS1 will be temporarily available for DStv viewers all the way down to Access.
All 48 RWC matches will be broadcast live on Premium (SS1) with the magazine shows premiering on SS1.
Springbok matches, starting with the opener against the All Blacks on September 21, will have one-and-a-half-hour buildups; the rest will be one-hour.
The tournament’s opening ceremony will be broadcast on September 20, 11.30am SA time.
Day two’s action, which opens at 5.30am with Australia against Fiji followed by France against Argentina, will conclude with the much-awaited SA-New Zealand showdown, which kicks off at 11.45am.
Local interest will likely to extend to Sunday, when Namibia play Italy (7.15am).
For Springbok matches, fans will have the choice of four language offerings (English world feed, English SA feed, isiXhosa and Afrikaans) while all others will have three options (English world feed, isiXhosa and Afrikaans).
KykNet will additionally feature one-hour Afrikaans buildups for Springbok fixtures.
Apart from the live broadcasts, SuperSport also has a dedicated production team in Japan with Matt Pearce and Hanyani Shimange providing on-the-spot reports for SuperSport Blitz.
Meanwhile, SuperSport has lined up a wealth of pre-tournament content to whet fans’ appetites:
THE SPRINGBOKS’ ROAD TO JAPAN
This show charts the Boks’ progress under Rassie Erasmus ahead of RWC 2019.
JAKE’S WHITE BOARD
Assessing the World Cup contenders with past champions Jake White and Joel Stransky.
In-depth RWC series with interviews with all Cup-winning captains, plus interviews with luminaries like Schalk Burger, Joel Stransky, Eddie Jones and Jake White.
Ali Bacher’s in-depth interviews with Martin Johnson and John Smit.
BON VOYAGE NAMIBIA
A look at Namibia’s preparations.
HISTORY OF THE WORLD CUP
Charting the RWC’s history from the start in 1987 to 2011.
1995 – ONE TEAM, ONE COUNTRY
The story of the famous Springbok triumph of 1995.
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
Interviews with prominent Springboks: Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth, Lukhanyo Am, Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi.
PLUS . . .
RWC tournament highlights and RWC final highlights.
During the World Cup itself, several other programmes will feature:
The World Cup is made up of 20 teams and each will bring a unique tactical approach to winning the Webb Ellis Cup. This Sunday show will break down these approaches and get into the minds of rugby tacticians.
Super Rugby, the interactive Afrikaans magazine show broadcast on Mondays, is hosted by Kobus Wiese and special guests who will review the Rugby World Cup and associated stories.
Tuesday’s popular Phaka rugby show will give the lowdown in isiXhosa.
As the name indicates, the show will be broadcast on Wednesday evenings. Midweek Maul will be a light-hearted look at the Cup, with Neil Andrews and celebrity guests offering a lighter perspective on goings-on in Japan.
The long-standing First XV show will draw on the expert views of former players and set up the coming week’s action.
A social media fan reaction show, the focus is on supporters and the fan experience at the World Cup. This will be streamed live on Facebook with a TV playout later on Thursdays.
This Friday show is designed to showcase the sights, sounds and culture of Japan, the host nation, giving viewers an insight beyond traditional rugby grounds.
Fans unable to get in front of their televisions can follow the action live on DStv Now with regular updates also provided on @SuperSportTV’s Twitter feed.
Showmax will broadcast daily highlights from 6pm, plus magazine shows.