We're bringing back Buck, with All Blacks icon Buck Shelford headlining a star-studded panel providing world-leading analysis and expertise for NZME's wide-ranging coverage of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Shelford will be part of NZME's new video show Beyond the Game – providing an astute and entertaining perspective on all the action throughout the World Cup.

Hosted by NZME's Alex Chapman and Cheree Kinnear, Beyond the Game debuts this Thursday evening with a special Rugby World Cup preview show on nzherald.co.nz.

Nine more shows will air at 6am the day after every All Blacks pool match, as well as their likely quarter-final, both semifinals, the bronze medal match, and the final.

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One of New Zealand sport's most iconic leaders, Shelford will bring his experience from having played in the winning 1987 World Cup squad, as well as insight from his stint as one of the All Blacks' most successful captains, having not lost a game during his tenure as skipper.

Shelford will be joined on the show by Michaela Blyde, who will offer a fresh perspective as one of the Black Ferns' stars on the sevens circuit. The 23-year-old is one of the best young talents in New Zealand rugby, having been named World Rugby Women's Sevens Player of the Year in back-to-back years, as well as being part of the gold medal-winning World Cup and Commonwealth Games sides.

Leon MacDonald rounds off the trio, with the 56-cap All Black offering the perspective of being both a former player and a current coach. The Crusaders legend is now head coach of the Blues and will provide his expertise and inside knowledge from having coached several of the players in the current All Blacks' World Cup squad.

Shelford and Blyde will also be part of NZME's extensive offering of expert columnists for the tournament in Japan. The pair will join Melodie Robinson and Andrew Mehrtens in providing a player's perspective on the tournament, while NZME's established array of agenda-setting analysts will extend their rugby coverage for the pinnacle event.

New Zealand Herald rugby writers Dylan Cleaver (left) and Liam Napier. Photo / Greg Bowker
New Zealand Herald rugby writers Dylan Cleaver (left) and Liam Napier. Photo / Greg Bowker

Dylan Cleaver, Chris Rattue, Phil Gifford and Paul Lewis will all opine on the tournament as it unfolds, while Wynne Gray is on board to pen his popular insights built from decades of reporting on the Cup. Simon Wilson and Steve Braunias will also offer their unique takes on the tournament.

Led by Patrick McKendry, the Herald's team in Japan will bring you closer to the action than ever before with award-winning writers Liam Napier and Gregor Paul, seasoned photojournalist Mark Mitchell, Radio Sport's renowned commentator Nigel Yalden, and leading journalist Elliott Smith ensuring we have every angle covered.

Radio Sport's commentator Nigel Yalden. Photo / Peter Meecham
Radio Sport's commentator Nigel Yalden. Photo / Peter Meecham

Yalden will be providing his much-acclaimed commentary for every All Blacks game live on Radio Sport, Newstalk ZB and iHeartRadio, while there will also be the opportunity for rugby fans to interact with the journalists on the ground in Japan via the Herald's live blogs.

The Herald will be providing live updates on every game at the World Cup, with extended coverage for the All Blacks' matches, including exclusive pre-game Q+A's with our reporters in Japan.

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