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By The Roar
Fan article originally published on The Roar's sports opinion website. Submit your own rugby article to The Roar for potential publication on Rugby.com.au.
Network Ten has announced the return of legendary rugby caller Gordon Bray to the commentary box, beginning with the upcoming Lions tour.
It's a great sign for how seriously the station is taking their broadcast contract for Wallabies games, Bray has been teamed up with 81 Test and World Cup winning Wallaby Matt Burke.
Bray, ‘the voice of rugby’, has a 40-plus year career in broadcasting, spanning many networks, where his passion for rugby infused his call of the game.
The first Test match Bray called was on the 1976 Wallabies tour of France. This year, when he debuts for Network Ten for the June 22nd Lions Test, he will also have covered the third consecutive Lions tour to Australia, after being the voice of the 1989 and 2001 tours.
Bray said, “I am thrilled to be joining Network Ten as the Chief Rugby Commentator, especially in this year of the Lions Series.
“The Lions Tour of Australia is held every 12 years so this is a once in a lifetime experience for the players.
“Having previously called the 1989 and 2001 series, I feel very privileged to be commentator on my third Lions campaign.”
For rugby fans in Australia this news is very exciting because the Wallabies have been something of a forgotten broadcast product in recent years.
Since a long stint on the Seven Network became a bit stale and Seven dropped their coverage of the Wallabies, the national team has been languishing.
Channel Nine took up the rights but clearly viewed the Wallabies as the younger brother to rugby league and that saw plenty of Wallabies fans unhappy with the coverage, the professionalism and the timing of the broadcasts on that station.
Ten have confirmed that as rights holders for the “Wallabies Test matches until the end of 2015, all games will transmit live on Ten.”
Now we just need to work on getting the network’s signature for some coverage of Super Rugby in the next round of negotiations!
Many people believe Bray to be the best rugby caller in Australia, if not the world. Teaming him up with the highly accomplished Burke is a great move from the network.
Bray and Burke have had some time together on ESPN covering the Six Nations not long ago, so they shouldn’t find picking up the rhythm and timing of covering games together much trouble.
It should bring a smile to the face of Wallabies fans to see Ten signing up such a big name caller in Bray to partner with a high profile sidekick.
It seems someone is taking the commitment to the Wallabies seriously again.
*Disclaimer - Views expressed within this story are not necessarily the views of the ARU or rugby.com.au