We did, of course, once upon a time have Rugby Special - a programme which had been running since 1966 and which I grew up with in the eighties, despite the fact that it was shunted around the schedules, appearing generally on BBC2 at various times on a Sunday afternoon and, for a period, very late on a Saturday night when , after rolling in from the pub, the only way it could be watched was to cover one eye to prevent seeing two of everything. Rugby Special wasn't a great programme but it was better than nothing and, having been scrapped and then revived by the BBC it did manage to find a semi-regular slot on Sunday Grandstand for a while (albeit the time it was shown was entirely dependent on the producers scheduling it around other sports events) until 2005 when it appears to have dropped off the radar, with rugby highlights being aired on an ad hoc basis ever since.
So the I Want a Match of the Day for Rugby campaign is certainly worthy of support in my view and you can sign an online petition in support of the campaign here. It's not as if the BBC don't have any rights to rugby. As well as somehow managing to hang on to the rights for the Six Nations the BBC also:
- holds rights to show highlights of the English Premiership;
- holds exclusive rights to show the Anglo-Welsh Cup;
- holds joint rights to show the Celtic League; and
- plans, I believe, to cover some of the IRB Sevens events this year.
I would have thought that a reasonable weekly round up show could be cobbled together from that lot. Now all we need is for someone to bang the heads of the BBC and the ERC together to negotiate rights to show delayed highlights of European games and we'd really be in business - but perhaps that's a campaign for another day...?