Spark Sport is investigating why its international streaming feed was disrupted midway through the All Blacks' epic Rugby World Cup encounter, forcing it to screen the game live on free-to-air TVNZ.

The telecoms giant says the issues - including buffering and pixelated images for some customers - was not caused by New Zealand's broadband capacity.

In a statement early on Sunday, Spark said: "The root cause of the video streaming issue is still being investigated with our international streaming partners. However, we can confirm that the issue was not related to New Zealand broadband capacity, with the demand for this game well within our operating thresholds. It was not confined to customers of any particular broadband provider."

Read more:
Match report: All Blacks take down Springboks in remarkable World Cup opener
Take a bow! All Blacks' classy moment after Boks victory
World Cup dust-up: The drama which riled up All Blacks


The match was initially delayed by an hour for free-to-air viewers on TVNZ but the second half was aired live after Spark said they were "uncomfortable" with the quality of the streams that some customers were receiving.

"Midway through the first half we identified that the quality of the video stream was fluctuating for some customers," the company said in a statement.

"This meant that customers experienced brief, intermittent periods of reduced video quality such as pixilation and buffering.

"We were uncomfortable at the quality of the experience our customers were getting and, as we always said we would, we moved quickly to provide them with an alternative means of watching the match. We had prior established procedures with our partner TVNZ to enable live, free-to-air coverage at short notice."

Photo / Twitter
Photo / Twitter

The game, which the All Blacks won 23-13, saw a maximum of 132,000 people streaming via the service, and while still uncertain of the cause of the problem, Spark assured their customers it wasn't an issue related to New Zealand broadband.

"There were not the same video quality problems during the day's two earlier matches. Although some customers needed help from our care teams at times during the day, for the most part these related to isolated device issues and in-home set up."

Read more:
Liam Napier: The blitz that proves All Blacks the team to beat
Gregor Paul: How the All Blacks are re-inventing rugby

Spark CEO Jolie Hodson said, "We are very disappointed that some New Zealanders did not get the experience they deserved last night during such an important match. Making a quick decision to give them an alternative means to watch the All Blacks was the right thing to do. We apologise to all impacted customers and we will be working with our partners to rectify what happened and ensure the rest of the tournament goes well."


Hodson also tweeted her disappointment.

The All Blacks beat South Africa 23-13.

Love your rugby? Subscribe now to NZ Herald Premium for unlimited access to premium content, including our exclusive, first-class rugby coverage. Check out our special rugby offer here