Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fox "Rugby World" strikes back!

Fours weeks have past since the debut of Fox Sports new rugby show, "Rugby World" and as many of you may have read from my previous post, I was far from impressed.   So what would the brief hiatus bring us? Improvements? Status quo? A feeling of despair?

I'll start with last weeks show, which I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with.  It seemed that I might have a fairy godfather (I'll call him Uncle Dave) that has magically been listening to my wishes.  Gone are the rugby jerseys, now replaced with blazers, shirts and ties.  They still seem to be stuck in the bar, but our hosts did appear to be saving the pints of Guinness until after they are off camera.  As for the coverage, well the International scene was well represented again with the Super 14, Magners League, Heineken Cup etc., but this time they promised a treat in show No. 3 (which aired last night) that would include coverage of the Churchill Cup and the USA Men's Club Championship .  So last nights show rolled around, and I have to say, they didn't disappoint.  They showed the USA Eagles win over Russia in the Cup, highlights from the Men's Championship games, and a bonus feature on the Welsh Warriors US tour game against the local Glendale lads.  The show had definitely got better.

Now there is no way to know what exactly prompted the change, but I like to think that you and I made a difference. Many of you who follow me here and on twitter gave some great feedback, and much of what I am writing here echos that.  Combined with fellow rugby blog posts, it was obvious that a majority of viewers were disappointed, to put it mildly, on the first outing.  Second time around, there was a more positive vibe, but everyone seem to feel there was certainly room for change.

A lot of you expressed the desire for the show to be more entertaining and suggested take a look at what channels like ESPN or Showtime do for their NFL coverage.  Introducing new faces to the lineup was a popular comment as was providing coverage to include youth and women's rugby.  I agree.  It would be more entertaining to see some discussions between the guys, getting their opinions on what we are watching, rather than just rattling off from the teleprompter.  Having on special guests such as analysts, players, coaches, and sports writers could add some fresh perspective.   We all understand that covering every level of rugby in the US is near to impossible in a 30 minute show.  However, maybe using some of the time dedicated to the Infinity Park plugs once in a while to feature, for example, Play Rugby USA or the Women's National team road to the World Cup, could be a simple alternative.

Overall, the show has really improved, and I hope to see it develop into a great show that rugby fans, old and new, can enjoy. And if you are listening Uncle Dave, I'd like to say thank you for doing so.  If you every fancy saying hello sometime, remember, we'll be watching :)


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