Press ReleasesRugby


– Popular ESPNscrum fantasy rugby game returns alongside extensive tournament coverage 

– ESPN Classic offers legendary matches from past RBS Six Nations Tournaments


ESPNscrum and ESPN Classic are combining to deliver an extensive RBS Six Nations offering on TV, online, social media and mobile.

ESPNscrum will provide detailed coverage of the tournament with news, live scores and text commentary for every match as well as reports, reaction, analysis and player profiles. ESPNscrum’s Fan Zone blog will allow fans to comment and share their take on the tournament. In addition, stadia profiles will be available to provide users with key facts and the full history behind each of the tournament’s iconic venues.

The ESPNscrum Fantasy Rugby – 2012 International Game returns this season, and will be free for all ESPNscrum users. The overall winner of the game – the entrant whose team has scored the highest number of points throughout the tournament* – will be rewarded with a 32-inch Panasonic HD TV.

In addition, fans will be able to enter a competition via ESPNscrum’s Facebook page for the chance to win RBS Six Nations match tickets. Twitter users will also be able to keep up-to-date with the best RBS Six Nations tweeters via the ESPNscrum homepage. Selected tweets from various rugby players, coaches and journalists will be chosen to feature on the website’s homepage via a dedicated rugby Twitter feed to ensure fans are alerted of all the latest tournament news and gossip. Further expert analysis and insight will come from Austin Healey and Ben Kay, the ex-England internationals and ESPN rugby TV analysts.

Tom Gleeson, vice president, digital media, ESPN International, said: “ESPN is dedicated to serving rugby fans worldwide – on multiple devices. The return of ESPNscrum’s fantasy game and its extensive RBS Six Nations coverage reinforces our efforts in providing rugby fans with the best possible content.” 


ESPN Classic’s RBS Six Nations coverage will mark the beginning of the tournament by airing three legendary encounters between England and Scotland – headlined by a 2006 match which, for the first time since 2000, saw Scotland win the Calcutta Cup. That match will be aired on Saturday 4th February – the opening day of the tournament – at 1pm, the same day as the teams face each other in this year’s competition. Ahead of the key matches of each weekend, the channel will relive classic matches with the teams involved.

ESPN Classic’s Grand Slam Winners series will air throughout the RBS Six Nations and will start by looking back at the 2005 tournament on Monday 6th February at 9:00pm. The series is presented by Mark Durden-Smith, host of ESPN’s Aviva Premiership Rugby coverage, with Gareth Thomas (ex Wales Captain) and Ben Kay as they remember great cleansweeps including England’s 2003 victory and Wales’ 2005 triumph.

Jeroen Oerlemans, Vice-President TV Channels, ESPN EMEA, said: “ESPN Classic’s RBS Six Nations programming reflects our dedication to rugby and its fans. The passion and expertise that we show throughout our televised Aviva Premiership Rugby coverage will be demonstrated by the RBS Six Nations programming offered by ESPN Classic around this season’s tournament.”




ESPN Rugby Presenters Look Ahead to RBS Six Nations 2012


How do you think England will fare in the Six Nations after a disappointing 2011 World Cup?

‘It does depend on England’s player selection and whether the new guys can quickly step up to plate, but with the new coaching set up and with a backs against the wall attitude, I think they’ll be in the shake up for the title.’

–       Ben Kay, ESPN rugby commentator and former England international  

 ‘After spending the best part of two months on the other side of the world waiting for the real England to turn up, I’m not prepared to give up hope just yet.’

–       Nick Mullins, ESPN lead rugby commentator

 ‘Us England supporters are going on an epic European adventure into the unknown. My hunch is the relative inexperience of the team will mean a mid-table finish but I would be delighted to be proved wrong.’

–       Mark Durden-Smith, ESPN lead rugby presenter


Which match-up will be the game of the tournament?

‘We’ll have to wait until the penultimate match of the tournament to get its most poignant match. Wales against France on the final Saturday in Cardiff will bring back painful memories of semi-final Saturday in Auckland for the Welsh at last year’s World Cup.’

–       Nick Mullins, ESPN lead rugby commentator


‘England v Wales is the game I’m waiting for. Wales will be favourites at Twickenham because of the World Cup, but I think they’d rather be underdogs. Both teams have a lot of young talent and England will be determined to perform after a disappointing World Cup.’

–       Ben Kay, ESPN rugby commentator and former England international


‘Having married a Welsh woman I always look forward to the straining of family relations when England play Wales. But this year one game stands out….the final Saturday in Cardiff. Wales and France meeting for the first time since the World Cup. Magnifique!’

–       Mark Durden-Smith, ESPN lead rugby presenter



Which player is your ‘one-to-watch’?

‘George North and Manu Tuilagi for me are the two most exciting attacking players in the northern hemisphere at the moment. Both of these players can have a massive impact on any game they play in and we saw this in the World Cup.’

–       Ben Kay, ESPN rugby commentator and former England international


‘Irishman, Sean O’Brien, stunned me with his power and athleticism in the World Cup and might just be a pick for the forthcoming Lions tour before the end of the tournament.’

–       Nick Mullins, ESPN lead rugby commentator


‘My eye is always trained most keenly on the men in white shirts, so I am hoping David Strettle gets his chance. I sense there’s a lot more to come from the Saracens winger. Pick him please!’

–        Mark Durden-Smith, ESPN lead rugby presenter

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