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By NSW Rugby Union
Australia’s premier club rugby competition, the Shute Shield, returns to TV screens across NSW and the ACT next month with the ABC to broadcast the match of the round live every week at 3pm on ABC1.
The coverage kicks off on Saturday, April 6 with the blockbuster round one match between 2011 champions Eastwood and 2012 finalists Southern Districts.
Hosted by the ABC’s Stephanie Brantz, all the action will once again be called by Steve Robilliard and Brett Papworth. Joining them this season is Al Baxter, the most capped HSBC Waratahs and Wallaby prop of all time. The former Norths’ forward will be on the sideline adding a new depth and insight to the call.
Said ABC TV Head of Sport, Justin Holdforth, “ABC TV’s broadcast of the Shute Shield will once again be the only regular coverage of rugby on free to air television.
“Having former Wallaby Al Baxter arguing the point with Pappy will continue the tradition of front rowers being both the physical and intellectual engine room of the game.”
This season will see a change in the format of the competition, with teams playing each other at least once and all home derbies, such as the big clash between Manly and Warringah, played home and away. Following an 18-round pool competition, the top eight will progress to a four-week finals series, with the 2013 winner crowned on Saturday September 14 at Concord Oval.
This season’s opening round will see Southern Districts hoping to build on their inaugural Grand Final spot of last year as they take on four-time Premiers Eastwood. The opening round will also see Warringah playing Penrith at Pittwater Rugby Park, Eastern Suburbs against Northern Suburbs at Woollahra Oval, Parramatta hosting 2012 winners Sydney University at Merrylands RSL Rugby Park, West Harbour up against Randwick at Concord Oval and Gordon at home to Manly at Chatswood Oval.
The 2013 competition will be broadcast live on ABC1 throughout NSW and the ACT on Saturdays from 3pm. Interstate viewers can watch a full replay of each week’s Shute Shield game at 3.30am on Tuesday mornings on ABC1 nationally and rugby fans everywhere can catch all the action online at anytime on ABC iView.
A full fixtures list, together with weekly previews and all the results can be found at www.nswrugby.com.au. Rugby fans can also follow the Shute Shield on Facebook via www.facebook.com/shuteshield or www.facebook.com/abcshuteshield where you can catch game highlights and a preview of the upcoming ABC TV match, and on Twitter via @shuteshield or @abcshuteshield where you can send your thoughts through the week and receive live updates during selected games. You can also catch highlights of every round on the ShuteShieldTV channel on YouTube.
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We’re set for an exciting year with plenty to look forward to in 2014, including our Qantas Men’s Sevens team competing in the Commonwealth Games (July), the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France (August) and the launch of a new domestic competition – the National Rugby Championship (August).