Sports

Wales’ autumn internationals completely unavailable on terrestrial TV for the first time as live S4C deal pulled

Live coverage of Wales’ autumn internationals will be completely unavailable on terrestrial TV this year as S4C’s Welsh language match coverage is pulled.

Amazon Prime Video has announced it will deliver its own Welsh language broadcast option for Wales’ Autumn Nations Series matches against New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Australia, with the series beginning on October 30.

Amazon, who already have the rights to broadcast 17 of the autumn’s 20 internationals in English including all Wales games, is giving every Wales fan the option to enjoy Welsh internationals against the might of the southern hemisphere in either Welsh or English.

It is the first time a commercial broadcaster has invested in a Welsh language option in a rugby context.

It is a big blow for S4C, who were granted live broadcast rights last autumn when Amazon took its first foray into broadcasting live international rugby. But that decision has been reversed this year.

S4C will, however, be able to show up to 40 minutes of highlights from each Wales game. They will be going live an hour after Wales matches end, with highlights then available on S4C Clic.

Read more: How to get Amazon Prime Video for free as S4C live coverage pulled

Read more: Wales’ autumn fixtures and kick-off times amid new rules for fans

Prime Video’s Welsh-language live match coverage will include a full broadcast team of presenters, pundits and commentators. Owain Gwynedd will present, commentary will be provided by Gareth Charles, while guests and co-commentators will include Shane Williams, Nigel Owens, Nicky Robinson, Gwyn Jones and Sioned Harries.

Sarra Elgan will lead the S4C presentation team during the series, with Gareth Charles in the commentary box and Rhodri Gomer the pitch-side reporter and analysis will come from Shane Williams, Gwyn Jones and Nigel Owens.

The last time S4C did not have live coverage of a Wales international was for the 2019 World Cup warm-up matches, when they did not show live or highlights coverage.

Amazon Prime customers in the UK will also be able to watch Welsh language match highlights on-demand via the Prime Video app, in addition to on-demand coverage of all Autumn Nations Series matches.

Alex Green, managing director of Prime Video Sport Europe, said: “We are always looking to offer more choice to Prime members in how they are able to watch live sport on Prime Video and it was important for us to deliver a Welsh-language feed for the Autumn Nations Series.

“This additional viewing experience will bring our world-class production to Welsh language households across the UK, whether they are watching live, catching up on-demand or viewing the highlights on S4C.”

Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby, said: “We are delighted that Amazon have developed a Welsh language programme to enable viewers in Wales to watch the Autumn Nation Series in the language of their choice.

“This is the first time a commercial broadcaster has invested in a Welsh language option and we would like to thank Amazon for their commitment and support of the Welsh audience. We also welcome the partnership between Amazon and S4C, enabling a highlights programme on the free-to-air platform.”

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Sue Butler, S4C sports commissioner, said: “S4C is delighted to partner with Amazon Prime Video to ensure comprehensive Welsh language coverage of the Autumn Nations Series for our audiences.

“As the only free-to-air broadcaster with extended same day highlights of every Wales game in the Autumn Nations Series, we’ll be on the air an hour after the final whistle of the matches with all the action and reaction. We look forward to you joining us.”

Prime Video is broadcasting in the UK all of Wales, England, Scotland, France and Italy’s matches at the Autumn Nations Series, with Ireland’s matches to be included in Prime Video’s UK broadcast in 2022.

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