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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 20 July, 2019
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No more BBC commentary gigs for RTÉ lads

NUJ strike gave Ryle Nugent his shot at the big time, corporation says.

Ryle Nugent, centre, pictured with John Kenny and Brent Pope, whose commentary was heard all over Ireland and Great Britain on Saturday.
Ryle Nugent, centre, pictured with John Kenny and Brent Pope, whose commentary was heard all over Ireland and Great Britain on Saturday.
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

RUGBY FANS WHO were treated to match commentary from Montrose duo Ryle Nugent and Ralph Keyes on the BBC last Saturday will have to return to RTÉ for their insights in the future.

A BBC spokesman confirmed to TheScore.ie that the British broadcaster took the unusual step of using the Irish commentary for the game with South Africa at the Aviva Stadium as a National Union of Journalists (NUJ) strike stretched the corporation’s resources over the weekend.

The spokesman said:

RTÉ are the host broadcasters for all rugby union matches broadcast from Dublin and as such we will continue to use the host feed for future matches.

We also used the host commentary for Ireland v South Africa as a result of the NUJ strike, but will use our own teams in future.

Programmes across all the BBC’s platforms were affected over the two days – including some high-profile casualties like flag-ship current affairs programme Newsnight which was not aired.

NUJ members began the 48-hour strike shortly after midnight on Friday night in protest at planned alterations to the BBC pension scheme.

A number of leading presenters, including Nicky Campbell, Fiona Bruce, Huw Edwards and Newsnight duo Kirsty Wark and Martha Kearney, were among the 4,100 staff who joined the walkout.

The dispute began over the BBC’s plans to reduce a £1.5bn pensions deficit by capping increases in pensionable pay at 1% from next April.

More action is slated for next Monday and Tuesday, at the earliest – meaning that English favourites like Brian Moore et al will be back in the gantry for this weekend’s November Tests.

John Inverdale and other BBC staff were present in Ballsbridge – but they were not represented in the commentary position.

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