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Grassroots and Heartland Rugby shows set to return to screens across Aotearoa

New Zealand Rugby Commercial (NZRC) has announced that the Grassroots Club Rugby and Heartland Rugby programmes will air on NZR+, You Tube, Sky Sport and TVNZ from late June.

The Grassroots Club Rugby and Heartland Rugby programmes are amongst the longest-running rugby shows on New Zealand television, celebrating the best of Kiwi grassroots community and provincial rugby - the “Country Calendar of rugby”.

Provincial rugby programme, Heartland Rugby (currently known as Mainfreight Rugby) started in 1999 and covers the Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship. Grassroots Club Rugby started airing in 2002, covering club and school rugby, showcasing local talent and their communities across Aotearoa.

The shows will return in a fresh format with All Blacks legend Ian Jones returning as a presenter, and plans to continue evolving them across new formats for social as well as traditional channels.

New Zealand Rugby Commercial CEO, Craig Fenton saw this as the perfect opportunity to showcase where it all begins in Aotearoa and authentically connect with fans through content.

“Rugby is more than our national game. It’s a passion that brings us together as local communities, as a country and as a people. It’s come to represent Aotearoa on our best day, at home and abroad.  This is a story that needs to be told, and it’s best told from the grassroots by the volunteers, coaches, players and clubs of New Zealand.  I’m deeply grateful for the partnership of our Heartland Provincial Unions, the clubs and communities they represent, for the leadership of the community rugby team at New Zealand Rugby,  and especially proud to have the support of Sky and TVNZ, who have united with us.”

Horowhenua Kapiti Rugby CEO Corey Kennett said, “It is fantastic to have the two programmes back and provide fans with a connection to clubs and small provinces up and down the country. We get to share all the amazing experiences that occur every Saturday with fans across the country which is a real positive for rugby. “

Sky Chief Content & Commercial Officer Jonny Errington said, “Alongside our ongoing coverage of the Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship season, we are pleased to be supporting New Zealand Rugby Commercial with its coverage of Grassroots Club Rugby and Heartland Rugby. It is great that these  grassroots rugby programmes have found an ongoing home with NZRC and that we can make  them available to Sky customers.”

TVNZ Chief Executive Jodi O’Donnell said, “We’re delighted to partner with New Zealand Rugby Commercial to give grassroots rugby another home on TVNZ. Grassroots Club Rugby and Heartland Rugby programmes have a long and important history in Aotearoa and we know our viewers will be as excited as we are to see this content on TVNZ’s platforms, sharing it with the next generation of players and fans.”

Heartland Rugby and Grassroots Rugby Shows will be available free to air on NZR+, YouTube and other New Zealand Rugby social channels, TVNZ and Sky Sport from late June.