The Auckland Rugby Union's live stream of the First XV 1A competition starts today, and the union hopes the initiative will eventually be expanded and ultimately make a profit.

First XV TV is being run in conjunction with independent production company Sports Inc.

The company will have four cameras at each match of the round, and the games will be streamed on the ARU website.

In today's clash, St Peter's hosts Auckland Grammar.


"It's a big commitment and exciting," said Auckland Rugby chief executive Andy Dalton.

"We'll look to get the viewership up this year and see if it's got value. If there is profit to be made, we've undertaken that it will go back to the schools and schools rugby."

More than $200,000 will be spent, nearly all of it on production costs.

Former pupils living overseas have given positive feedback on the project as they can keep track of their old school teams more easily.

Dalton believes First XV TV can complement Sky's coverage, which has expanded this year to 51 live schoolboy games, 13 of them from the Auckland 1A competition.

First XV TV will also show a weekly highlights package of the other five 1A games.

The move is believed to have ruffled feathers at Sky. Its Rugby Channel has driven much of the burgeoning interest in schoolboy rugby since it started screening games in 2010.

The network declined to comment yesterday.


The other stakeholders asking questions are Auckland's rugby clubs.

At last month's council of delegates meeting, concerns were raised about whether the 1A move would further marginalise clubs, some of which are struggling financially and for playing numbers.

But Dalton said: "It's a different product. This is the up and coming talent.

"If this is successful, there may be the opportunity to look at our own club competitions as well."

Kick off

Where to watch school rugby: First XV TV

2.30pm today: St Peter's v Auckland Grammar


Sky's Rugby Channel
12.45pm: Rosmini College v Massey High School
3.05pm: Mt Albert Grammar v Sacred Heart