'Marry Me' sign gets IRB thumbs down

By Amelia Wade

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Richard Wigglesworth of England celebrates a try during the Rugby World Cup match against Scotland at Eden Park. Photo / Getty Images
Richard Wigglesworth of England celebrates a try during the Rugby World Cup match against Scotland at Eden Park. Photo / Getty Images

A man who proposed to his girlfriend with a "Marry Me" sign during a Rugby World Cup match has landed the official cup broadcaster in hot water with the IRB.

During the England match against Scotland at Eden Park on Saturday night, Sky Sport commentator Richard Turner spotted the fan in the crowd with his visual proposal so he sent the cameraman over.

"And the director went, 'Okay we'll come out of the ad break and we'll go back to him'," Turner told Radio Sport yesterday morning.

Turner, a former All Black, said on Tony Veitch's morning radio show that he wanted to bring "a bit of humanity" to their World Cup coverage.

"So I wandered over and said, 'Oh mate, where is she?' and he said, 'Well hopefully she's at home watching this game live on TV in England'.

"So we came out [of the ad break] and, you know, they shot and he did his big marriage proposal."

Turner told the man to give him "the thumbs up" when he heard back from his girlfriend in England.

"So to cut a long story short, he does the proposal on air and and she texts him and he rings her back, gets the thumbs up and everybody in the stands is high-fiving him.

"So we come out of an ad break and there was a change at half time and I said, 'A couple of updates, you know. One ... the Scottish winger's gone, being replaced by ... And the good news of the night is that it was a successful marriage proposal."

But the IRB did not seem to take too kindly to the fact that Sky Sport had strayed from being strictly about the rugby.

"Text from the IRB, 'No more marriage proposals on TV please'," Turner said.

Turner told Veitch he would "probably get smacked on the hand for telling this story" and said the text had come from the ruling body's match manager who controls the channel's coverage.

Sky spokeswoman Kirsty Way said no one in the network's senior management had been formally reprimanded for showing the proposal.

"There hasn't been any complaint and they've been dealing with [IRB commercial representatives] IMG all day, so there doesn't seem to be an issue there. We think it's a bit of fun - I'm not sure if that text was genuine or a bit of a joke."

Ms Way said when Sky won the rights to broadcast the World Cup it came with a set of guidelines to follow.

"But there's certainly a bit of room for the host broadcaster to add their own flair to it, if you like. So the production that we've produced is somewhat different to what you would have seen in France four years ago."

- NZ Herald

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