Connacht’s fixture against Cardiff will kick off the new United Rugby Championship next week, with over 150 hours of live action promised for TV.
RTÉ and TG4 have joined forces to ensure that games involving all four Irish provinces will air for free to Irish audiences.
RTÉ and TG4’s live, free-to-air coverage of the new URC begins with Connacht live on TG4 on Friday, September 24, followed by an action-packed rugby Saturday as Leinster are live on TG4, and Munster live on RTÉ.
Martin Anayi, CEO of the 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.”
In total, RTÉ will deliver live television, radio, and online coverage of 26 games featuring the Irish provinces in the league, plus additional knockout matches, along with extensive post match analysis on Against the Head.
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.
For the final of the championship, the two channels have agreed to amicably split the coverage, with each broadcasting it on alternate years.
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.”
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.”