Sky Sports and SANZAAR will continue their deal to broadcast matches south of the equator

Summer tours to stay on Sky Sports in new southern hemisphere TV deal

Fans of the four home nations will need Sky Sports to watch this year’s summer tours.

In a new four-year contract extension with SANZAAR, the governing body representing the international rugby unions of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, Sky will show at least 150 games in the southern hemisphere to British and Irish audiences each year.

The TV deal includes the inter-hemisphere summer tours, as well as The Rugby Championship and Super Rugby.

Due to a Lions tour, Covid-induced travel bans and an upcoming Rugby World Cup, the last three summers have been deprived of full-strength home nations touring a country south of the equator.

The drought will end this year, with England touring Australia, Wales going to South Africa, Ireland facing New Zealand and Scotland playing Argentina. Each series will be shown on Sky.

Elsewhere, Sky will continue to hold the rights to The Rugby Championship, the annual competition between the four SANZAAR members.

The deal, which runs until 2025, serves as a reminder that any chance of South Africa joining the Six Nations remains a few years away at least.

South Africa v New Zealand 2021

The Rugby Championship also remains on Sky (Getty Images)

Elsewhere, Sky will continue to broadcast Super Rugby, as it has done in the competition’s many formats over the past 25 years.

This year’s edition, Super Rugby Pacific involves Australian, New Zealand and Pacific islander franchises, with four games on Sky this weekend alone.

For the first four rounds of the season, matches could only be watched in the UK and Ireland via SANZAAR’s own streaming service.

The station will also show the Currie Cup, South Africa’s domestic competition, and the National Provincial Championship, the New Zealand equivalent.

Despite the rise of BT Sport in the past decade and Premiership Rugby increasing the number of games on terrestrial TV this year, Sky has always dominated coverage of southern hemisphere action in Britain.

Jonathan Licht, Sky Sports Managing Director said: “SANZAAR rugby has been in Sky Sports’ DNA for almost 30 years and we’re pleased to continue our important and valued partnership.”

SANZAAR CEO Brendan Morris added: “We welcome Sky aboard once again as our broadcast partner in the UK and Ireland. Sky has been a broadcast partner of SANZAAR for a very long time and we have a very strong and professional relationship.”

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