‘Live Start’ for Sky Open Super Rugby and NRL


This weekend kicks off Sky’s new super rugby and NRL strategy that will see games ‘live start’ free-to-air on Sky Open but become progressively delayed with ad breaks throughout the broadcast.

Here’s the media release about the on-air talent and scheduling:

Sky Sport unveils strong lineup for DHL Super Rugby Pacific and Sky Super Rugby Aupiki campaigns

Sky is pleased to confirm its broadcast lineup as DHL Super Rugby Pacific and Sky Super Rugby Aupiki return to Sky Sport in 2024.

The two leading voices of New Zealand rugby, Grant Nisbett and Tony Johnson, head Sky’s commentary team, which also features Rikki Swannell, Jeff McTainsh, and Fauono Ken Laban, for another season of action alongside a host of expert analysts and panellists.

Included among that contingent are Jeff Wilson, Justin Marshall, Mils Muliaina, Sir John Kirwan, Taylah Johnson, Honey Hireme-Smiler, Kieran Read, Kane Hames, Ben Castle, Joey Wheeler, James Parsons, Israel Dagg, Andy Ellis, Aaron Cruden, Les Elder, Kendra Cocksedge, Kristina Sue, and Sene Naoupu.

The collective wealth of experience brought to Sky’s Super Rugby coverage by that group includes 12 men’s and women’s World Cup titles, 20 Super Rugby championships, and over 750 international appearances for the All Blacks, Black Ferns, Māori All Blacks, Ireland Women, and Manusina Samoa.

Experienced broadcasters Kirstie Stanway, Laura McGoldrick, and Taylor Curtis will again take on presenting roles this season, and they will be joined by Sky’s new team member Kimberlee Downs.

Joining Sky Sport after more than a decade as a reporter, producer, and presenter for TVNZ, Kimberlee is a seasoned journalist who will be familiar to Kiwi television audiences.

Having covered the last two Rugby World Cups, among many other major sporting events – including three Olympic Games, two Commonwealth Games, the 2015 Cricket World Cup, 2021 America’s Cup, and 2016 Paralympics – Kimberlee is an exciting and welcomed addition to Sky’s broadcast team.

“I am thrilled to be part of Sky’s coverage for the upcoming Super Rugby Pacific and Super Rugby Aupiki campaigns,” Kimberlee said.

“There are few opportunities more exciting than the chance to help provide New Zealanders with the best rugby on offer in this part of the world.”

“Working alongside such a star-studded broadcast team only adds to the growing anticipation of the season ahead. I can’t wait to get stuck in and see what the year brings for Super Rugby Pacific and Super Rugby Aupiki.”

Every match of both competitions will be live on Sky Sport, beginning on Friday, February 23 when the Chiefs host the seven-time reigning champion Crusaders in a rematch of last year’s DHL Super Rugby Pacific grand final at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton.

All the other Kiwi sides will be in action this weekend, with the Hurricanes facing the Western Force in Perth later on Friday evening. The Blues then host the Fijian Drua in Whangārei on Saturday, while the Highlanders and Moana Pasifika do battle under the roof of Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

The third edition of Sky Super Rugby Aupiki begins a week later with back-to-back fixtures on Saturday, March 2.

Chiefs Manawa and Hurricanes Poua open the new campaign at FMG Stadium Waikato, before Matatū and the Blues take the competition to Invercargill for the first time when they square off at Rugby Park Stadium later that afternoon.

All matches from the opening round of DHL Super Rugby Pacific and Sky Super Rugby Aupiki will be live on Sky Sport 1 and can be streamed on Sky Sport Now and Sky Go.

Free-to-air channel Sky Open will also have ‘live start’ Super Saturday coverage of one DHL Super Rugby Pacific match every Saturday night, with delayed coverage of other select fixtures, as well as ‘live start’ coverage of one Sky Super Rugby Aupiki match per week.

NB: ‘Live start’ coverage of Super Rugby Pacific and Super Rugby Aupiki matches free-to-air on Sky Open begins as live coverage and progressively becomes delayed with ad breaks throughout the broadcast.

The Alternative Commentary Collective (ACC) also provide an alternative commentary option for select DHL Super Rugby Pacific matches every weekend live on Sky Sport 9.

DHL Super Rugby Pacific Round 1 Broadcast Schedule

Friday, 23 February: Chiefs v Crusaders, 6:30pm live on Sky Sport 1*
Friday, 23 February: Rebels v Brumbies, 9:30pm live on Sky Sport 1
Friday, 23 February: Force v Hurricanes, 11:55pm live on Sky Sport 1
Saturday, 24 February: Blues v Fijian Drua, 4pm live on Sky Sport 1
Saturday, 24 February: Highlanders v Moana Pasifika, 6:40pm live on Sky Sport 1**
Saturday, 24 February: Reds v Waratahs, 9:35pm live on Sky Sport 1

*Delayed coverage on Sky Open from 9:30pm and ACC commentary live on Sky Sport 9 from 7pm
** ‘Live start’ coverage on Sky Open from 7pm and ACC commentary live on Sky Sport 9 from 6:55pm

Sky Super Rugby Aupiki Round 1 Broadcast Schedule

Saturday, 2 March: Chiefs Manawa v Hurricanes Poua, 1:30pm live on Sky Sport 1*
Saturday, 2 March: Matatū v Blues, 4:15pm live on Sky Sport 1

*’Live start’ coverage on Sky Open from 2pm

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