We have gone through a list of confirmed names so far. Ever since the Nine Network won the Rugby Australia rights since November. This time on an exclusive deal.
The marquee Super Rugby AU games are on Free to Air Saturday Nights. While regaining the Wallabies home & away tours & Rugby Championship. And a few Shute Shield/Hospital Cup games all on Nine. The rest of the content & magazine shows will be via subscription. So it will be on Stan via an add-on sports package.
Murray Shaw was installed as the Head of Rugby. Just a few weeks after Nine ended Fox Sports’s 25 year association with rugby. He may be a soccer nut by heart via Tottenham Hotspur. And helped out that channel for 12-13 years with the A-League & Socceroos. But he is happy to produce any other sport. Such as this new adventure managing here on Nine/Stan.
Then Andrew Swain became the first on-air personality by the festive break. He might not be the main caller. But will do both roles on and off the air. Such as a backup caller on Super Rugby AU, Shute Shield & Wallaroos. And will be the senior producer the marquee and Wallabies games. Andrew just came from Fox Sports who worked in a similar role last year.
While the main caller role has not officially confirmed. It is 100% likely that it will belong to someone new. So Sean Maloney is the perfect candidate. Having called lots of Rugby games before on Fox Sports as No.2. Before he was let go at the end of 2019. Sean appears every week on The Aussie Rugby Show. And will follow the footsteps of Gordon Bray & Greg Clark.
Now we finally know who will be face of Rugby on Nine & Stan. It will not be James Bracey or Erin Molan. As they have their respective usual commitments. While Cameron Williams presents sports news these days for the Sydney market. But it will be a familiar face who knows Rugby inside out. And his name is Nick McArdle.
There may not be a single statement about Nick joining Nine/Stan. He is however listed to host the ATP Cup Tennis early next week. We do not know which sessions he will take. But safe to say that Nick is onboard after a year off the airwaves. Great to see Nine use his versatility having presented other sports before. He has been on Fox Rugby for many years as the main host until 2019.
Nick already gets along well with the ex-players. In which will help not only the confidence within each other. But also benefit the audience as well. Where it has been like this exclusively on Foxtel in the past. Now he is able to emulate that chemistry/presenting style on Free to Air.
We look forward to Nick returning on the airwaves this Monday. But if you want to see him talk Rugby. Then he will be there on Friday 19th February with the Reds v Waratahs game. The opening round of 2021 Super Rugby AU. The announcers and host so far have joined this regime.
We will look forward to see which pundits will jump ship. With around three weeks left before the season starts. But for now Nick McArdle is your new host. Alongside Sean Maloney as the Main announcer.