RWC 2015 - Week 7 - An Interview with Mark Demuth

markde.png Interview with Mark Demuth, Controller of ITV Sport

With less than 2 months to go till Rugby World Cup 2015, we caught up with our very own Controller of ITV Sport, Mark Demuth, to quiz him on what audiences can expect from ITV's coverage of this epic tournament.

How will ITV be catering for people tuning in who wouldn't normally watch rugby union?

We know the importance of appealing to as broad an audience as possible. The Olympics showed that the country loves a big sporting event and Rugby World Cup will be no different. If the home nations perform as well as everybody hopes, the enthusiasm for the tournament will grow and grow. Our role is to capture all the excitement. We're mindful that not every viewer will be familiar with all the laws of the game. Our studio and commentary line-up know there'll be times we need to explain certain aspects of play and the interpretation of the laws.

What tone and style will our coverage take?

We intend to make our coverage inclusive and engaging. The serious business takes place on the pitch. We will address the editorial talking points and key issues, but we realise there'll also be lighter moments and we'll reflect those in our coverage during the course of the tournament. In that regard, it's the same as covering a Football World Cup. We're fortunate to have some great rugby names working with us. Jonny Wilkinson, Brian O'Driscoll, Sir Clive Woodward, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh, Lawrence Dallaglio and Francois Pienaar have all achieved so much in the sport - and we want to share their expertise, insight and honest opinion with the audience.

How will ITV be getting viewers as close to the action as possible?

As well as broadcasting the tournament to viewers in the UK, we're also the official Host Broadcaster which means we're responsible for producing pictures to the rest of the world. The planning and preparation began almost as soon as the last Rugby World Cup finished in October 2011. The production plan is based on consistency and quality with first-class OB facilities, equipment and crew. The tournament will be covered to the highest spec. We'll make use of specialist cameras such as Ref Cam, Corner Cam, Spider Cam, Line-out Cam and Rail Cam to take viewers to the heart of the action. 

How do you think the home nations will fare? 

It will be fascinating to see what happens with Wales and England alongside Australia in Pool A. It is too tight to call. It guarantees the tournament some pivotal games before we reach the knockout phase, but it also means there's a chance of either Wales or England being knocked out early! Should either or both get through the group it will at least ensure they are battle-hardened ahead of the knockout games.

As for Scotland, they face a tough task in their pool but would hope to make the quarter-finals. Ireland though will have their sights sets on winning Pool D - not least because they'd hope to avoid New Zealand and South Africa in the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals if they go through as pool winners.  

Who will win?

Four countries have won the Rugby World Cup since the first tournament in 1987 - New Zealand (twice), Australia (twice), South Africa (twice) and England once. Surprisingly nobody has ever retained the trophy. New Zealand are the reigning champions and I think they might buck the trend this year and become the first nation to win the Rugby World Cup for a third time.