Analysts Alex Corbisiero, Brian Hightower and Dan Lyle & Hosts Rupert Cox and Ahmed Fareed Share Thoughts Ahead of Friday’s Opening Match
“There are very few occasions in sports and in general that will rival the Rugby World Cup.” – Corbisiero
“This is the next opportunity to spread the gospel of this amazing, properly global sport in this country.” – Cox
“It’s really interesting to see the dynamics that are going to unfold in these pools because of how competitive it’s going to be.” – Lyle
“Whatever drama unfolds, there’s always some sort of seminal moment in the World Cup.” – Hightower
Corbisiero’s The Scrumdown Podcast Relaunches Around the World Cup; First Episode Previews 2019 Rugby World Cup
STAMFORD, Conn. – September 18, 2019 – With the 2019 Rugby World Cup two days away, NBC Sports rugby analysts Alex Corbisiero, who played internationally for England, Brian Hightower, a former USA Rugby World Cup participant and USA Sevens captain, and Dan Lyle, former USA Rugby captain and Premiership Rugby player, along with host Ahmed Fareed and Sky Sports’ Rupert Cox, preview the tournament.
On what to look forward to at the 2019 World Cup in Japan:
Lyle: “I call this the five-five-and-five. You’ve got five teams who can absolutely win it. You’ve got five teams who have beaten those five, and then you’ve got five more below that that have beaten those five. So, it’s really interesting to see the dynamics that are going to unfold in these pools because of how competitive it’s going to be.”
Corbisiero: “The fact that it’s hosted outside of a top-tier nation in Japan, it’s almost neutral ground. Every time we usually have a World Cup, it’s a top nation that hosts it and is playing in front of a home base crowd. This time, none of the top teams are in that position. They’re all playing on neutral ground. I think it just adds an extra layer of spice that we haven’t seen before in a World Cup, and it makes it very exciting.”
Hightower: “Whatever drama unfolds, there’s always some sort of seminal moment in the World Cup…I think those are the moments that make a World Cup unique…There’s going to be some sort of drama that unfolds that changes whatever the popularly accepted narrative is about the winner or who’s going to be in the semifinals or who’s even going to be in the quarterfinals.”
Cox: “The exciting thing about second-tier teams is every game’s a final…Every time they take the field, it’s the biggest game of their time.”
On what it means to play in a World Cup:
Corbisiero: “It’s incredible. It’s such a moment on the biggest stage, the ceremonies, the grandeur that goes with it, the environment…There are very few occasions in sports and in general that will rival the Rugby World Cup.”
Corbisiero: “I think for the players, obviously you want to win it, but you want to create those memories that you look back on, and I think on this stage, it’s very easy to create special moments that you can look back on forever. I know I did.”
Hightower: “You have the pride and the accomplishment to be able to represent your country just once, and then you throw in the weight and the magnitude of this tournament, and it’s totally different. It’s stratospherically different.”
Fareed: “Whenever you tie country and pride to sports, it produces these intense, patriotic atmospheres. You have players that are playing not only for themselves, but for their teammates and their country. I think that always give you this special environment that is really very difficult to replicate on a year-to-year basis in sports.”
On growing the sport of rugby through the World Cup:
Cox: “This is the next opportunity to spread the gospel of this amazing, properly global sport in this country. And to be here trying to promote the sport, tell the stories that we were talking about that could unfold over the next weeks, it’s a real privilege to do it.”
Lyle: “That ability to unlock the American market, to inspire people that have never seen the game with the coverage that we have – these 26 linear games and all of the coverage that we have – we definitely have the opportunity.”
Hightower: “You take a novice and you let him watch the sport, it is instantly compelling, it is interesting, and there are very few people that will turn the channel because it’s got that much wow-factor. It’s the game that we love and for us, it’s awesome to see people growing into their own unique relationship with the sport.”
Corbisiero’s The Scrumdown podcast will relaunch around the World Cup, with a new episode dropping weekly discussing all things rugby. In the first episode, Corbisiero previews the Rugby World Cup.
Over the course of the six-week tournament, NBC Sports will present more than 250 hours of Rugby World Cup 2019 matches, original programming and additional Rugby World Cup content.
All 48 Rugby World Cup 2019 matches will be available live, commercial-free and on-demand on NBC Sports Gold through the “Rugby World Cup Pass” and “Rugby World Cup Single Match Pass” when the tournament begins in two days on Friday, September 20. Twenty-two matches will be presented live exclusively to the subscribers of the direct-to-consumer package.
In addition to NBC Sports Gold, twenty-six of the 48 matches will be shown live on NBCSN, and streamed via authentication on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Some games will also be shown on delay on NBC. For more information, click here.
NBC Sports Gold provides rugby fans with unprecedented access to Rugby World Cup 2019 with multiple direct-to-consumer live streaming passes, which include commercial-free coverage, live and on-demand, on desktop, mobile, tablet and connected TV devices.
ABOUT NBC SPORTS GOLD
NBC Sports Gold is NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer live streaming product that provides sports fans with access to exclusive premium sports events and content, live and on-demand, at an affordable price. Launched in 2016 with a single cycling product, NBC Sports Gold currently offers 17 individual sports “passes” – twelve domestic (PGA TOUR LIVE, Premier League, Premier League Match Day, INDYCAR, Cycling, Track & Field, Premier Lacrosse League, Speed Skating, Rugby, Rugby World Cup, Supercross, and Snow, consisting of seven Olympic winter sports); two regional (Blazers and Philly); one combination (Supercross and Pro Motocross), two domestic and international (Figure Skating and Pro Motocross); and one international-only (Notre Dame Football). Find NBC Sports Gold in the NBC Sports app available on Apple iOS & tvOS, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast and NBCSportsGold.com, and also on Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex.
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