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Last Updated:  Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 16:54 GMT
Ask BBC Sport's rugby editor
Email: grandstand@bbc.co.uk
Text: 07940 924 924

You sent your views and questions to Carl Hicks, BBC Televison Sport's rugby editor, who answered them on Wednesday 20 November 2002.

Click on the audio link below to hear his comments:

I know that finding suitable impartial commentators like Bill McLaren must be very difficult but surely you cannot continue to use Brian Moore. He is the most biased commentator I have heard.

Jack Millar.

Carl: Obviously I am not going to agree with that. One - Brian has a unique insight having won many caps for England, through Grand Slams and the rest. Two - I don't think he is a biased commentator, but he does offer robust opinions on a number of issues.

Obviously he favours England when they play the likes of Australia and New Zealand, and I think there is a need for passion in commentary.

I believe Brian is one of the most articulate commentators on the game at the moment, and I think he has developed into a fine member of our team.

Now that League is played nationally (we even play down here in Bristol and Taunton), has the BBC got any plans to show the Super League show around the country? It'll be great to be able to see weekly highlights, just like union supporters can with rugby special.

Matt Anniss, UK

Carl: I'm afraid Matt that unfortunately our contract with Sky TV, who own the rights to the Super League, means we can only show the Super League show in the North, and we do not have the rights to screen the show on terrestrial TV.

I can sympathise with people who want to see what is a fine sport in the south. I'm speaking as someone who comes from Widnes and is a big league fan - I'd love to sit in my flat in London and watch the Super League show but the way the contract stands we do not have access to these rights.

Why is rugby league treated as little more than an afterthought on most occasions by the BBC? Witness the difference in coverage between RU and RL in Sunday Grandstand. Why is the Super League Show not shown nationally?

Craig Gerrard, UK

Carl: Rugby League is not treated as an after thought. There is a rights issue, and we do not have access to the Super League, but if you bear in mind the Challenge Cup rights which we do own, then we have live rugby league every Saturday and Sunday every weekend of the competition.

We also have the Great Britain national side on terrestrial by buying the highlights rights for those games.

Sky TV pay a good deal of money and provide a wide-range of coverage which is both significant and informative. But the game has suffered from a lack of terrestrial coverage, and the biggest stars of the game are not the national figures that they were five or six years ago.

Significantly, this year coming is the last of the present contract, and hopefully we will be looking to reassess our position and having increasing influence with rugby league on national television.

It's been great to see Rugby Special back on our screens again, and especially at a reasonable time on a Sunday which I am sure will appeal to a family audience. My main gripe is why has it taken until November for such a great magazine programme to reappear?

Adam Stanley, England

Carl: Well Adam, don't forget that last year Rugby Special didn't appear until February, so we're four months ahead of schedule! Rugby Special is now part of Sunday Grandstand, which shows other sports apart from rugby, so it has been a devil of a job just to get it on that.

Sunday is the place for rugby special, it is a great area for highlights, analysis and reviews of the weekend's action, and we will continue to do that right through until the end of the season.

Why oh why are there never Zurich Premiership games or highlights on the BBC when it seems football from whatever league or country is on all the time?

W Gainsburgh, England

Carl: Obviously the BBC does have a considerable rugby union portfolio with the Six Nations, Autumn internationals and Heineken and Powergen Cup.

Sky have the live rights to the Zurich premiership - we can show highlights which Rugby Special will do as the season progresses and there is a commitment to give the Premiership quality coverage.

But there are other competitions and areas where the BBC specialises in through the rugby season.

Why is it necessary to show competitions and football scores on screen while showing a game of rugby, it spoils the game. When football is on no rugby scores are shown - please stop it for all rugby fans.

Graham Jordan, England

Carl: I think Graham is referring to rugby within Grandstand - in which case other sports will get a mention throughout the afternoon.

It is also believed that the general viewer has an interest in football. I'm a huge rugby fan but I am also a football fan. There is no getting away from the fact that on a Saturday afternoon football does dominate the news.

I don't think it spoils the viewing for a rugby fan, hopefully it is complementary. Bear in mind that there is more live rugby on BBC television than any other sport - it is all give and take.

I think union is a far superior game to league - so much more exciting and without the artificiality of league. would Mr Hicks agree?

Alastair, UK

Carl: I don't know if Alastair knows me, but I am from Widnes, the heartland of league. When we were crowned world champions in 1989 it was one of the proudest moments of my life. So no I would not agree.

Both sports are fantastic in their own right, and arguments to the contrary are always long and often dull.

You have to respect the skills of both codes and the abilities of the players, but I would always give the edge to league if it came to a photo finish!




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