As Super Rugby transitions into the Mid-Year International Tests soon after the Blues v Crusaders Final this Saturday, it’s awesome to see Nine showcasing some Women’s Rugby earlier this year via 9Gem & 9Go with the Super W and the opening Wallaroos game of the year v Fiji so far in 2022.
The only competition they haven’t aired yet on free-to-air as part of the current multi-year contract between Nine/Stan Sport & Rugby Australia is the Shute Shield, which features grade club rugby teams across NSW.
Although they did show selected Queensland’s Club Rugby games with the Hospital Cup last year on 9Gem & will do so again for the 2022 season in a few weeks time, but that’s because Queensland weren’t in lockdown at the time unlike NSW – while these games were only available for the QLD market for free unless you subscribe to Stan Sport for $20 a month & stream it anywhere nationwide.
We’re about to see that sort of treatment soon when the Shute Shield approaches over the business end of the regular season before finals time. We just don’t know when the first of these four selected games will come on 9Gem, as Shute Shield has just came off a week-long break due to the long Queen’s Birthday weekend with eight regular weeks to go ahead of Round 11 this Saturday.
It will also be interesting to see if Nine/Stan will throw in some of their usual Super Rugby/Wallabies broadcast crew for these free-to-air Shute Shield games including the Finals later this August; Regardless whether some of them are lead-ins going into the Wallabies Tests at night or not.