Welsh TV channel S4C has secured the highlights rights for the new European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup.
S4C will be the first terrestrial free-to-air broadcaster in the UK to televise extended highlights of the new European tournaments, which have been provided through a licence agreement with tournament organiser EPCR and broadcast partners BT Sport and Sky Sports.
The coverage starts on Sunday, 19 October at 9.50pm in the new-look Rygbi: Cwpan Pencampwyr Ewrop programme. The second programme will be on Monday, 21 October at 10.00pm, with further programmes scheduled for the second weekend of matches.
The programmes will be available on-line and on demand at s4c.co.uk for 30 days after transmission.
S4C has unveiled its line-up for the show which will feature anchor presenter Gareth Roberts and former Wales captain Gwyn Jones in a production provided jointly by SMS and Sunset & Vine Cymru.
Paul McNaughton, EPCR Board and Executive Committee member, said: "It's very good news that S4C are continuing their support of European club rugby by securing highlights rights for the new EPCR tournaments.
"These highlights programmes will help to complement the already extensive live and feature programming that fans can look forward on BT Sport and Sky Sports. The confirmed broadcast platform will ensure that these tournaments will get the exposure that they deserve and that fans can follow their clubs in Europe."
Llion Iwan, S4C Content Editor Sport and Factual Programmes said, "We are delighted that viewers in Wales and the UK can enjoy free-to-air terrestrial highlights of our two premier European rugby competitions. It is a measure of our standing as a sports broadcaster that we can secure such rights in a hugely competitive market. It adds greatly to our impressive broadcasting portfolio of rugby at all levels. We salute the competition organisers for having the vision to see that there is room for coverage on a free-to-air platform in the Welsh language."
Europe’s premier rugby tournament now involves 20 teams, with seven from the Aviva Premiership, six from the French Top 14 and seven from the Guinness Pro12.
The second-tier competition, The European Challenge Cup, also features 20 teams in five pools and two Welsh regions, the Blues and Dragons.
The new S4C highlights show will feature many highlights from both competitions.
The Welsh regions’ matches will usually be the feature matches.
In the European Champions Cup, Ospreys entertain Treviso in their first Pool 5 Match on Sunday 19 October,
while the Scarlets travel to current European champions Toulon in Pool 3.
The coverage will continue next weekend with Ospreys heading to Northampton and the Scarlets welcoming Leicester.
In the European Challenge Cup, Cardiff Blues face Grenoble in Pool 1 on Saturday, 18 October, and the Dragons are in Paris to tackle Stade Francais.
The coverage continues next weekend with Rovigo v Blues and Dragons v Newcastle, not forgetting that the English Premiership team with a Welsh twist, London Welsh, are also in the tournament.
Further group matches in both competitions will be played in December of this year and January 2015, with the knockout stages scheduled for the spring.
S4C provides coverage of Wales’ international matches, Guinness Pro12, Swalec Welsh premier and championship matches, college rugby among other rugby tournaments.
S4C previously had highlights coverage of the Heineken Cup and Amlin Cup.