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Sky Sports land five-year deal to show Top 14 rugby from next season

The British broadcaster previously tied up a deal to show the Pro12 from September onwards.

Racing Métro's Jonny Sexton lines up a penalty attempt.
Racing Métro's Jonny Sexton lines up a penalty attempt.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

SKY SPORTS HAS swooped to capture the broadcast rights of the French Top 14 league on a five-year deal from next season onwards.

The sports broadcaster has secured exclusive rights for 55 matches. It will show at least two live matches per weekend and provide full coverage of the playoffs and final in June. A weekly highlights package will also be part of the deal. It was announced, in 2013, that Sky will also provide coverage of the Pro12 from next season on.

The league currently has a strong Irish contingent and will feature Grenoble, a team that will be coached by former Leinster and Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman. It will be the first time an Irishman has been head coach in the Top 14. Grenoble also has James Hart and Shane O’Leary on its playing books while Ulster centre Chris Farrell is joining the Izere-based club in the summer.

Jonny Sexton will remain on as Racing Métro’s first-choice out-half next season and Ronan O’Gara is expected to stay on with the Parisian side as skills, kicking and backs coach.

All the Sky Sports regulars, who feature on the broadcaster’s Heineken Cup coverage, will be in-situ. That includes former Ireland prop Paul Wallace and former British and Irish Lions stars, such as Will Greenwood, Ieaun Evans and Scott Hastings.

The deal will run concurrently with the multi-million Canal+ contract for broadcast rights in France. LNR President Paul Goze is pleased ‘to secure such a strong partner on a long-term deal’. He added, “Sky will provide an extensive coverage of the competition, and we expect to enlarge our UK fan base further in the next five seasons.”

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Patrick McCarry

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