NIK SIMON'S GAIN LINE: BBC lose autumn Tests to talkSPORT

NIK SIMON’S GAIN LINE: BBC’s rugby coverage suffers a body blow as they lose the radio rights for autumn Tests to talkSPORT after being outbid, while S4C are cut out of Wales coverage with Amazon using their own team

  • BBC Five Live have ended their coverage of the November internationals 
  • The live radio commentary will now switch over to main rivals talkSPORT
  • Fans will be unable to watch Wales on terrestrial television for the first time

The BBC’s rugby coverage has suffered a body blow after they were outbid by TalkSport for the radio rights for the autumn Tests.

BBC Five Live have decided to end their long-term coverage of the November internationals, as rugby coverage continues to slip away from its traditional platforms.

The live radio commentary will now switch over to their main rivals, TalkSport, who also held the rights for this year’s Lions tour of South Africa.

England and New Zealand are among the teams taking place in the autumn internationals

TalkSport have been actively pushing their rugby coverage, with charismatic England prop Joe Marler among their weekly guests. 

Lions pair George North and James Haskell are also likely to be part of their on-air team.

The Gain Line understands that the radio rights for next year’s Six Nations remain available, after the BBC did not purchase them as part of a package with their TV coverage.

S4C lose Wales to Amazon

Wales fans will be unable to watch their side on terrestrial television for the first time this autumn.

Amazon have won the rights for all four Tests and will show the action with the options of both English and Welsh language commentary. 

Last year, the online platform allowed S4C to broadcast the games with Welsh language commentary but they were shocked by how many viewers they lost to the terrestrial channel.

As a result, the Gain Line understands they have decided to cut out S4C by using their own Welsh language team.

BBC set to show women’s games

While the men’s autumn internationals have moved away from traditional broadcast platforms, the women’s fixtures are set to be showcased live on the BBC. 

Tournament organisers are hoping to finalise a deal with the national broadcaster within the next fortnight.

Christ the saviour?

Christ Tshiunza could be Wales’ saviour after Alun Wyn Jones retires — unless he turns to England. 

The 19-year-old 6ft 6in, 17st Exeter lock was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but grew up in Cardiff. 

Tshiunza (pronounced Chiunza), known as Chris, joined Exeter University but is yet to represent them having been fast-tracked into the Chiefs side. 

Exeter lock Christ Tshiunza could be Wales’ saviour after Alun Wyn Jones (above) retires

His boss Rob Baxter joked Tshiunza would wait to qualify for England. 

‘He’s Welsh qualified and played for their U20s… maybe in five years he’ll be England qualified, but don’t tell him I said that, it’ll upset him!’ Baxter teased. 

‘Wales have identified him as one for the future and he’s enthusiastic about playing.’ 

Lions pair George Kruis and Dan Biggar have put Anglo-Welsh rivalries to one side and set up a property business. 

The pair have launched Haydart Investments — with Biggar bumping into sprint legend Usain Bolt while networking at Old Trafford on Wednesday night!  

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