Watching Beyond the Scoreboard

Jamie Heaslip 25/10/2016

The attraction of sport in all its formats is evident in the surge of interest in sports documentaries over the past few years.

The latest addition to a growing genre airs on RTE tonight and tracks “Irish Rugby: What We Did Last Summer.”

The documentary has been produced in association with Vodafone who are backing their sponsorship of this and Irish Rugby with a massive advertising campaign around the country and online.

It chronicles the Ireland rugby team’s historic summer tour to South Africa where, despite missing several key players and reduced to just 14 men, they claimed the first ever Irish victory against the Springboks on their home soil.

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The programme captures the highs, lows and emotional reactions of not only the players and management team, but of their families, friends and support network back home too.

It features never before seen footage from the side lines, stands and dressing rooms in Newlands Stadium, Cape Town, while back home, the documentary provides a unique perspective on the match from those closest to the players.

The families of the team’s Ulster players, who have been firm friends since their fathers played rugby together, are filmed watching the match in Belfast Harlequins Rugby Club.

The fly on the wall documentary aims to get fans closer to the team than ever before with unprecedented access to the Irish set up, including footage filmed by the Irish players themselves.

Exclusive interviews with players and management including Rory Best, Jamie Heaslip, Joe Schmidt and Andy Farrell provide a unique perspective on the diverse characters that make up the Irish rugby team.

There is also a focus on the off pitch experiences of the squad in South Africa including a visit to the Missionvale township and team excursions on their days off from rugby duties.

“Irish Rugby: What We Did Last Summer” will air on RTÉ One tonight at 10.15pm and will be repeated RTÉ 2 on Saturday, 19th November at 3.30pm.

Online discussions through the show will centre on #TeamOfUs.

AIB’s The Toughest Trade

RTE partnered with AIB to show The Toughest series of documentaries featuring Aidan O’Shea and Roberto Williams exchanging places between GAA and American Football earlier this year as well as similar treatment between Semple Stadium in hurling and the Melbourne Cricket ground in Australia.

The ESPN 30 for 30 series brought sports documentary film making to a new level and the quality of material now being produced, backed as part of brands investment in content marketing could yet see Ireland winning Emmy’s or even Oscars in years to come as the genre attracts ever bigger interest.

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