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NBC Sports Group acquires exclusive U.S. media rights to Rugby World Cup

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STAMFORD, Conn., & DUBLIN, Ireland — NBC Sports Group has acquired the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Rugby World Cup through a seven-year partnership with World Rugby, both parties announced today. The agreement includes media rights on all platforms and in all languages to the Rugby World Cups in 2019 and 2023; the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017 and 2021; the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018 and 2022; and the annual World Rugby U20 Championships from 2017-2023.

“This agreement is the culmination of years of cultivating our rugby portfolio. It began with U.S. collegiate rugby clubs and now, through this unprecedented agreement, includes the greatest tournaments, teams, players and coaches in the world,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports Group. “Whether it is men’s or women’s, sevens or 15s, pros or amateurs, rugby fans can rest assured that they will have more access to more premier rugby content than has ever been possible in the U.S.”

“The USA is one of the fastest-growing markets for rugby participation and fan growth,” said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont. “This exciting and unprecedented deal with one of the world’s most prestigious broadcasters will ensure that more people than ever before in the USA will be able to access the world’s top men’s and women’s fifteens and sevens events. NBC will be the destination for rugby in the USA.”

“This deal represents a significant uplift on previous deals in the US, reflecting the ever-increasing stature of rugby within what is arguably the most competitive commercial marketplace for sport,” added World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper. “This all-encompassing deal with our friends at NBC is great for fans and great for rugby as we look towards San Francisco’s hosting of Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018.”

The agreement begins this spring with the World Rugby U20 Championship 2017 from Georgia, and continues this August with the Women’s Rugby World Cup from Ireland. San Francisco, Calif., will host the Rugby World Cup Sevens in July of 2018, while Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup in 2019. Sites beyond 2019 have yet to be determined. Following is a year-by-year breakdown of the events included in the agreement:

  • 2017: Women’s Rugby World Cup (Ireland); World Rugby U20 Championship (Georgia)
  • 2018: Rugby World Cup Sevens (San Francisco, Calif.); World Rugby U20 Championship
  • 2019: Rugby World Cup (Japan); World Rugby U20 Championship
  • 2020: World Rugby U20 Championship
  • 2021: Women’s Rugby World Cup; World Rugby U20 Championship
  • 2022: Rugby World Cup Sevens; World Rugby U20 Championship
  • 2023: Rugby World Cup; World Rugby U20 Championship

NBC Sports anticipates utilizing NBC, NBCSN, The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer product — and possibly other platforms to provide more comprehensive U.S. coverage of the numerous events included in the agreement than ever before.

All rugby sevens events will be presented by the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, part of a comprehensive content and distribution partnership formed in 2016 by the IOC, USOC, and NBCUniversal. The centerpiece of the partnership is a U.S. linear cable channel, which will launch this summer. Rugby sevens debuted as an Olympic sport during Rio 2016.

NBC Sports Group’s multi-year agreement with World Rugby enhances its already robust slate of rugby programming, which includes exclusive Olympic rugby coverage through 2032, Premiership Rugby, the Rugby Sevens World Series, the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, and the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup. NBC Sports Group has also provided coverage of the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups, and exhibition matches in conjunction with USA Rugby that feature the USA Eagles, New Zealand All Blacks, and Qantas Wallabies.

 

NatWest 6 Nations fantasy update

NatWest 6 Nations
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In the first of two NatWest 6 Nations Fantasy Rugby specials, we’re looking at the forwards who have impressed so far in the Championship.

After two thrilling rounds of the NatWest 6 Nations, England and Ireland are both unbeaten with Wales and Scotland breathing down their necks with one win each.

Just like the Championship, the fantasy rugby is also heating up with the third week set to be decisive as the quest for supremacy continues.

Hookers

Ireland captain Rory Best leads the way amongst the hookers after captaining Ireland to victories over France and Italy in the opening two rounds.

Best’s points are boosted by a try with England skipper Dylan Hartley not far behind followed by Wales’ Ken Owens and France’s Guilhem Guirado.

See the Full 6 Nations Schedule

Owens is the cheapest hooker amongst the top five performers to date with England’s Jamie George closing in on Hartley despite coming on as a replacement in both games.

Rory Best (14.60) – 67
Dylan Hartley (13.95) – 44.4
Ken Owens (11.55) – 39
Guilhem Guirado (14.35) – 37.6
Jamie George (13.80) – 34.6

Props

England’s start props Mako Vunipola and Dan Cole are the highest scorers here with the former’s 30 tackles and 21 metres carried helping him to top the rankings.

Ireland’s Jack McGrath and Andrew Porter are both cheaper and have scored strong points from their opening two games with Rob Evans offering good value at 11.50 stars.

Mako Vunipola (14.75) – 73.6
Dan Cole (14.15) – 52.8
Jack McGrath (13.00) – 43.6
Andrew Porter (12.70) – 40.4
Rob Evans (11.50) – 33.8

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Lock

The locks continue to offer exciting value to Fantasy Rugby players with Joe Launchbury’s 29 tackles and two defenders beaten putting him at the top here.

England teammate Maro Itoje is a close second with Aaron Shingler, the cheapest option of the five, in third after making 85 meters in the first two games.

Courtney Lawes is a point further back, but much more expensive, with Iain Henderson also offering good value after picking up 55.8 points so far in the Championship.

Joe Launchbury (14.85) – 76.2
Maro Itoje (16.35) – 74.8
Aaron Shingler (13.45) – 69.6
Courtney Lawes (15.05) – 68.2
Iain Henderson (14.25) – 55.8

Loose forwards

Two tries on his NatWest 6 Nations debut has helped Sam Simmonds to the top of the loose forwards but he’s been ruled out of Round Three.

That could see Chris Robshaw selected by more players with a trio of Irish offering value ahead of the visit of Wales to Dublin this weekend.

Sam Simmonds (17.15) – 110.6
Chris Robshaw (14.80) – 75.2
Sean O’Mahony (14.65) – 74.8
Dan Leavy (11.35) – 59.4
CJ Stander (15.35) – 58.6

France’s Morgan Parra to undergo knee surgery, miss rest of 6 Nations

NatWest 6 Nations
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Clermont Auvergne has reportedly confirmed France scrum-half Morgan Parra will miss the remainder of the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations Championship. The Frenchman is set undergo arthroscopic surgery for a torn meniscus he sustained last month.

Parra, 29, was initially prescribed three weeks of rest following the injury. He is now expected to be out four-to-six weeks before shifting his focus to Clermont’s Champions Cup.

France, seeking their first 6 Nations Championship title, opened their campaign with losses to Ireland and Scotland in the first two rounds.

Action will resume with Round Three on Friday, Feb. 23. Every match can be seen with NBC Sports Gold Rugby Pass.

See the Full Schedule | Watch 6 Nations with NBC Sports Gold Rugby Pass