Rugby Union: Home unions' TV bidding to start at pounds 20m

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The Independent Online
DOMESTIC rugby union yesterday set its sights at a level that would never have been dreamed of a few years ago when it boldly announced the bidding for the new home unions' television contract would start at pounds 20m, writes Steve Bale.

This sort of money has led the home unions, who have had problems agreeing among themselves, to appoint agents to vet the applications. In a wider context pounds 20m is peanuts, Premiership football having fallen to Sky for pounds 300m. But for rugby this is big, big money and with BBC, ITV and Sky all in for the new three-year contract, the contract price three years ago - pounds 10.1m with subsidiary rights taking it to pounds 12.4m - will be far exceeded.

Derek Eves has been as consistent an open-side flanker as any, including Neil Back, in England this season and the Bristol player's elevation to the captaincy of the Emerging Players who play Spain in Elche, near Alicante, on Sunday is a worthy reward for that. This completed the England selectors' mammoth selection for the weekend, 63 players making up three teams headed by England against Scotland.

ENGLAND EMERGING PLAYERS (v Spain, Elche, Sunday): A Lumsden (Bath); D O'Leary (Harlequins), G Childs (Wasps), G Thompson (Harlequins), H Thorneycroft (Northampton); J Harris (Leicester), I Sanders (Bath); D Crompton (Bath), S Mitchell (West Hartlepool), D Garforth (Leicester), A Snow (Harlequins), R West (Gloucester), A Diprose (Saracens), L Dallaglio (Wasps), D Eves (Bristol, capt). Replacements: A Tunningley (Saracens), D Edwards (Wakefield), R Kitchin (Bristol), M Hynes, G French (Orrell), M Haag (Bath).

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