Exclusive: TV bosses want rugby coaches to reveal gameplans

Broadcasting revolution would see pundits briefed on expected key moves before kick-off

English rugby will be asked to agree to a broadcasting revolution that would see coaches sharing tactics and gameplans with television commentators before matches.

The radical proposals are being put forward by BT Vision, who won the rights to cover the Premiership next season and are emerging as serious rivals to BSkyB as Britain's premium sports broadcasters. The company are paying close to £1 billion to become major players in football and rugby, and will pitch a series of innovations to the 12 Premiership coaches this month.

The taboo-busting ideas include teams revealing elements of their gameplan to TV commentators – who would be sworn to secrecy – and players being filmed in training practising their moves. These would be compared to match footage to show if they worked.

Other innovations to the English game include players being interviewed as they come off the field at half-time or go into the sin-bin, and a camera in the pitch to give a worm's-eye view of scrums.

Premiership coaches contacted by The Independent on Sunday said they were keeping an open mind ahead of face-to-face meetings with BT producers in the next fortnight. BT agreed a deal last September worth up to £152m to take over from Sky and ESPN as sole broadcasters of the Premiership for four years from August, and to show European games for three years from 2014.

Leicester Tigers' director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, whose team host Toulouse in the Heineken Cup today, said: "BT are going to canvass clubs as to what we think are acceptable boundaries. They want to be cutting-edge, as producers always do.

"I think clubs would be open to it. You have to build the game and build the brand and build support within the game.

"That's what BT are paying for and money will be a dictator, no doubt. If it's not going to affect anything intrinsically within your culture, you can have common sense between the two parties. The more appeal you get into the wider public, and the more educated they get about what goes on, is appealing."

The plans have been shared with clubs' backroom and management staff but Richard Hill, the Worcester coach and former England scrum-half, said he would reserve judgement until he met BT.

The London Irish coach, Brian Smith, said: "I'm all for innovation and I'll wait to see what is proposed. There would be an appetite for this from the real rugby devotees. Something like the NFL Hard Knocks programme that follows a team in pre-season could work well. But I'm pretty sure the coaches would guard their tactics jealously. I wouldn't be keen on sharing our thought process or detailed preparation. It's sport, it's not Big Brother."

Cricket crossed boundaries by mic-ing up players in T20 matches, with the likes of Shane Warne telling viewers how he would bowl his next delivery, and following through by taking the wicket as planned. If successful, the rugby experiment would put pressure on football managers to follow suit and open up training grounds to the cameras.

Cockerill said: "The French interview players as they come off at half-time. You'd suggest they pick the right sort of player, live on telly.

"The other stuff, from a Leicester point of view – and we had this discussion with ESPN – is that some things in rugby have to be sacrosanct. Hearing the coaches talk in the changing room or at the training ground – some of that is your IP [intellectual property].

"We don't want our scrum- training coach filmed because we want people to wonder, 'Why are they good at that, how do they do it?' It might just be that we bend over and push harder than the others, and there's no secret to it whatsoever.

"A lot of it comes from America, the NFL and basketball there," he added. "The coaches meet the presenters or commentators the day before the game and talk through their tactics, so the commentators have a better inside knowledge of what's going on during the game."

However, Cockerill warned: "I would be concerned if it wasn't a two-way street. Building a relationship with the clubs is fine, but not if as soon as a club is playing poorly it's: 'The coach should be sacked' or: 'That player should be cited'."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
News
i100
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power