Lewis “Mad Dog” Moody, who arrives in Johannesburg on Friday to do duty for SuperSport, expects a grand spectacle when the World Cup kicks off, with England and Ireland pushing the southern hemisphere giants hardest.
A World Cup winner with England in 2003, Moody says he expects no change from the World Cup tradition of teams that stick to what got them to the World Cup, in terms of playing style, ultimately being the most successful.
He also believes that teams able to adapt to the erratic conditions ought to go best.
“The weather can be very changeable. Last weekend we had England against Ireland. It was a beautiful day that produced fantastic rugby. But this being England, next week we could be in the middle of a monsoon,” said Moody, who earned 71 caps for England.
“The southern hemisphere boys tend to adapt; the French tend to go well too. Teams may play tighter in the pool games because of anxiety. Given that it’s a British World Cup, the boys from Scotland, Wales and Ireland will feel at home, which will make for a great spectacle.”
Lewis predicts that the Rugby Football Union’s heavy investment in the World Cup will ensure the most special of events, with rugby fever sure to take hold when England start proceedings against Fiji at a revamped Twickenham on Friday night.
“I’m gutted,” Moody quipped. “I’m too old and battered to play in this home World Cup.”
Instead, he will be one of the expert analysts for SuperSport’s broadcasts.
SuperSport plans to broaden the appeal of its World Cup coverage with a range of new shows, top guests and cutting-edge technology.
With a 24-hour rugby channel already on the go, SuperSport intends offering something for every type of rugby supporter: from the casual observer to the hard core fanatic.
All 48 matches will be broadcast exclusively live and in High Definition, with buildups featuring some of the best analysts in the game.
Former World Cup champions Kobus Wiese, Joel Stransky, Bobby Skinstad and Ashwin Willemse will be joined by overseas counterparts Moody and Ben Kay, plus a number of other former internationals like Sean Fitzpatrick, Taine Randell, Nathan Sharpe, Colin Charvis, George Gregan, Paul Wallace, Gavin Hastings and Jeff Wilson.
UK-based ITV is the broadcast host and will supply the international commentary feed.
The ITV commentary team includes Tony Johnson, Miles Harrison, Gordon Bray and Stransky, of SuperSport.
For its fifth broadcast of Rugby World Cup, SuperSport has put together eight different shows that will feature on a 24-hour channel from September 1:
- World Cup Rugby Weekly.
- Master Plan.
- Super Rugby.
- Show Me Your Passport.
- Boots and All.
- Full English Breakfast.
- Fan Zone.
Content will range from the light-hearted to news events, analysis to general rugby entertainment.
One of the shows, Show Me Your Passport, will be fronted by Elma Smit, the original “Lady Rugga”, who will be travelling throughout the UK to bring viewers stories and sights from the heartlands of rugby. Accompanied by a regular SuperSport pundit, she will lift the lid on local rugby culture.
Other top guests lined up for SuperSport’s coverage are Nick Mallett, Matt Pearce, Owen Nkumane, Toks van der Linde, Naas Botha, Robbi Kempson, Hanyani Shimange, Sharky Robinson, Kaunda Ntunja and Thinus Delport.
DStv premium PVR subscribers with a DStv Explora will be treated to highlight packages available on CatchUp for every match.
Additionally, every Rugby World Cup 2015 match will be streamed live to subscribers (who have a DStv connect ID linked to their DStv Premium PVR subscription) via supersport.com or alternatively through the DStv Now app and SuperSport App respectively.