Rugby on my TV!
For the first time in what seems like years, there's rugby on Canadian tv (and no, I'm not talking about local rugby games played in cornfields on Rogers Local Cable 20). I'm talkin' first class professional rugby
As mentioned in previous posts (below) Setanta Sports has set up shop and is now available for a free preview in Canada until September 10th. The service is provided on cable chhannel 429 where I live (Rogers Grand River Cable - Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge area). Others should check their own listings.
Last night I watched last weekend's Waikato vs. Southland from New Zealand's National Provincial Championship (Air New Zealand Cup), and the Blue Bulls vs. Boland Kavaliers from South Africa's Currie Cup competition.
There's lots more rugby action from both the NPC and Currie Cup this weekend.
Click here for more details.
Update 1: Saw the England vs. Wales pre-RWC friendly last night. But this morning (Saturday) suggested Setanta needs to iron out some wrinkles with their live coverage satellite(s). The EPL soccer kicked-off this weekend with a big promotional network launch, and viewers watching the dramatic conclusion of the Sunderland v. Tottenham match would have had every reason for putting their boot through the TV screen, as Sunderland scored a winning extra-time goal with the screen black and audio cutting-out. The last ten minutes of the match looked like something you might have expected to see in the 1970s. Let's hope it's fixed before September!
Update 2: Saw the England vs. France friendly RWC warm-up from Twickenham on Saturday at Setanta. Viewers might want to check their channel, as the schedule on the Setanta N.America website is dodgy about half the time.
The rugby match was an exciting encounter, won by France 21-15 on the back of a block-busting freakish try by the robust replacement flanker Sebastian Chabal (and, truthfully, aided-and-abetted by some weak English tackling). Most would cite the try as the turning point, which it was, but equally huge was a bone-jarring tackle minutes earlier at the French line by replacement Dimitri Szarzewski on Phil Vickery that swung the game. The Poms had a point lead and it looked for the world like their forwards were rolling to an easy 7-pointer, but stopped dead cold at the line. See Szarzewski's game-saving tackle here:
Without that tackle, Chabal's Lomuesque try might have been for naught.