We’re very excited to say that Shute Shield will be back on free-to-air with the Week 16 game between Manly v Warringah next Saturday at 3pm on 9Gem. There should be more to come with another two regular season games to finish off before continuing with one Playoffs round in August. They already showed some women’s rugby earlier this season on 9Gem with the Super W competition, as well as the opening Wallaroos match v Fiji.
It’s been a long time coming since club rugby hasn’t been aired on Free TV here in NSW since Stan Sport & the Nine Network replaced Fox Sports & Network 10 as Rugby Australia’s broadcast partner last year under an initial three-year contract, with the option to extend another two years afterwards.
Although Channel 7 was the previous rights holder for these Shute Shield games through a separate deal prior to 2021, but then Rugby Australia brought that product off Club Rugby TV and bundled them up under the one roof ahead of the next broadcast rights deal at the time two years ago.
We can’t wait to see how the business end of this year’s Shute Shield season pans out for those who don’t have the Stan Sport subscription to look back over the last 10-15 weeks. We’re also aware that there was some free-to-air Hospital Cup Rugby on last year on 9Gem via the QLD market alone, while we didn’t get to see that opportunity at all when lockdown in NSW also at the time effectively cancelled the 2021 Shute Shield season without a champion.
But let’s see if some of Nine/Stan’s regular Super Rugby & Wallabies commentary team will be present for these free-to-air club rugby games at the ground.