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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
BBC extends Welsh rugby contract
BBC Wales, S4C and the Welsh Rugby Union have signed a new deal for the broadcast coverage of domestic rugby in Wales for the next four years.

The agreement ensures comprehensive coverage on television, radio and online in Welsh and English.

WRU chief executive Steve Lewis said: "I don't think any rugby-playing country has better broadcast backers.

"They share our values from the community game upwards and help keep rugby at the top of the Welsh agenda."

The deal means the continuation of twice-a-week live television coverage of the Magners League, as well as coverage of the Principality Building Society Premiership and Konica Minolta Cup.

Broadcasting contracts are already in place for the Anglo-Welsh EDF Energy Cup, the RBS Six Nations championship and Wales' Invesco Perpetual Series.

In November Wales host Australia, the Pacific Islands, Canada and New Zealand on successive weekends.

This season we will extend our rugby coverage still further

BBC Wales head of sport Nigel Walker

That means the biggest package of live rugby union matches anywhere in the UK will be available on BBC Wales and Welsh language station S4C this season.

As well as continuing its commitment to analogue broadcasting, BBC Wales head of sport Nigel Walker said they would be pushing the boundaries on digital platforms.

"In addition to live commentary on television and radio we have been able to develop interactive services through the 'red button' on digital television, while has become one of the most popular websites in the whole of Wales," he said.

"This season we will extend our rugby coverage still further with a new Thursday evening radio version of Scrum V on BBC Radio Wales and we are developing plans to make highlights available... via mobile phone."

S4C will follow a similar approach, according to commissioning editor sport Gareth Davies:

"This new deal reinforces S4C's commitment to Welsh rugby and means that fans can enjoy a comprehensive package of top quality rugby.

"Games and highlights packages are already available to viewers outside Wales via S4C Digidol and new platforms, such as broadband and 'red button' services, will enable us to extend our coverage even further."

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