Premier Sports announce talent team for Guinness PRO14

Premier Sports announce talent team for Guinness PRO14

Premier Sports, the new home of every game in the Guinness PRO14, has unveiled a star-studded team of top talent to lead its broadcasts in Scotland as an exciting new season of rugby action kicks off this weekend.

Premier Sports signed a landmark three-year deal with PRO14 Rugby in April this year to show all 152 games live each season across the UK including Northern Ireland making the Championship its No1 property. Premier Sports coverage of the season kicks off this Friday 31st August with all seven live games live on Premier Sports and FreeSports.

A team of EIGHT of Scotland’s most respected former rugby stars and broadcast experts have been secured for their top-class coverage of the PRO14. Premier Sports are delighted to announce that Scottish Rugby giants Jim Hamilton, Rory Lawson, Doddie Weir, Chris Paterson and Al Kellock (with a total of 320 caps between them) will all feature in their broadcasts of some of Scottish professional rugby’s most exciting encounters of the 2018/19 Guinness PRO14 season.

The Premier Sports team also includes an experienced and dynamic broadcast trio for the very best in live sports reporting, presentation and commentary; with high profile Scottish TV presenter and former Deacon Blue band member Dougie Vipond, leading sports commentator Rory Hamilton and popular TV presenter Emma Dodds on board.

The line-up in Scotland completes the 19-strong picture for Premier Sports TV talent this season; including Northern Ireland’s Andrew Trimble, Mark Robson and Graham Little with Wales’ Shane Williams, Sam Warburton, Martyn Williams, Eddie Butler, Ross Harries, Sean Holley, Wyn Gruffydd and Lauren Jenkins.

Former Scottish international Jim Hamilton, who retired from the game in May 2017 after lifting three English Premiership titles and two European Cups as well as 63 caps for his country said: “I am really excited to be joining the Premier Sports team for this year’s Guinness PRO14 at an exciting time for our game. The Guinness PRO14 has some great teams and some of the world’s best rugby talent on show and now with a huge platform to showcase its talent through Premier Sports coverage.”

After a distinguished rugby career Rory Lawson has followed his passion for the game and insight into media first fuelled by his grandfather, the ‘Voice of Rugby’, commentator Bill McLaren who he idolised for his work behind the mic. Rory said: “This is a hugely exciting time for the Guinness PRO14 and it is an honour to be a part of Premier Sports inaugural coverage. The ambition is clear with all 152 matches to be shown live which will give supporters unmatched access to brilliant rugby and a terrific competition. Both Scottish teams look strong and have big ambitions this season. It’s a real privilege to be part of the Premier Sports team and I can’t wait for the season to kick into action.”

Lions and Scotland rugby legend Doddie Weir said: “I am thoroughly delighted to be part of the Premier Sports team and commentating on an exciting new season of PRO14 action. You only have to look at the stats to see Guinness PRO14 is clearly producing some great rugby and real entertainment for thousands of rugby fans, so I’m just really pleased to be a part of what looks like a very exciting future for the Championship.”

Al Kellock said: “It is great to be involved in the Premier Sports team for this season’s PRO14, the Championship has seen changes in structure over the last couple of seasons and this has only added to the quality of the rugby. The PRO14 has some of the most exciting young players around as well as a vast number of experienced internationals and with the Rugby World Cup just around the corner, this season will have an extra edge to it.”

Chris Paterson said: “I am delighted and feel privileged to be involved in Premier Sports’ coverage of this year’s Guinness PRO14. I am really looking forward to seeing the Championship play out and to be inspired by the world class talent on show.”

Dougie Vipond said: “I’m really excited and honoured to be part of the new Premier Sports team. The Guinness PRO14 is such a vibrant and competitive league which showcases some of the best rugby talent in the world. One of the highlights of my broadcasting career so far, was interviewing Warriors’ captain Al Kellock as he picked up the PRO12 trophy back in 2015. I look forward to sharing many more magic moments this season.”

The team will be working with Sunset+Vine, one of rugby’s most experienced and creative independent production companies with a track record that includes seven years of Aviva Premiership coverage with both ESPN and for the past four years, BT Sport. Sunset+Vine’s three-year deal will see them produce more than 200 hours of live rugby coverage for Premier Sports each season including the annual showpiece final at Celtic Park in May 2019.

Premier Sports is available in 16 million UK homes across Sky and Virgin platforms and to everyone via the Premier Player while FreeSports will be available to 22 million UK homes this season across seven different platforms.

Richard Webb, Chief Operating Officer of Premier Sports, who was born and bred in Perth said: “We are absolutely delighted with the team we have leading our coverage in Scotland – we are broadcasting a Championship full of world-class players, with a team of TV talent that reflects that ambition and class of the Guinness PRO14.

“We’re delighted and excited to have secured 19 experts at the top of their game as our core team talking up one of the most exciting club rugby competitions in the world. Premier Sports will be broadcasting every game live which will mean more people have access to the whole picture of rugby across the Guinness PRO14 Championship and for just 65p per game – that’s more than ever before all under one roof with a mix of match action and news across Premier Sports 1 & 2 and FreeSports.”

Martin Anayi, Chief Executive of Guinness PRO14 Rugby, said: “Ahead of an exciting opening weekend in the Guinness PRO14, I’m delighted to see Premier Sports complete their line-up with the announcement of their Scottish talent. Sunset+Vine have done a great job to assemble a line-up that is both familiar and full of pedigree. Dougie Vipond will bring great verve to the lead presenter’s role while the likes of Chris Paterson, Al Kellock, Rory Lawson and Jim Hamilton have great authority when it comes to analysing the action on the pitch.

“As lead commentator Rory Hamilton will bring plenty of energy and Emma Dodds is a terrific addition in the reporter’s role. Everyone at PRO14 Rugby could not be more excited for the season to kick-off on Premier Sports, they have delivered a terrific line-up across Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland and we hope our supporters enjoy this unprecedented coverage that they will bring.”

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