All Black legend to front TV coverage

Television rugby presenter and former All Black, Jeff Wilson is to front an hour long highlights package of February’s inaugural Hilux New Zealand Rural Games on Sky Sport.

Jeff Wilson

The programme is being produced by Auckland-based independent production company, Sports Inc and will be broadcast a few days after the Games that take place at Queenstown Recreation Ground over Waitangi weekend, Saturday 7 to Sunday 8 February 2015.

Jeff Wilson is a regular presenter for Sky Sport’s rugby and cricket coverage including the live weekly show #SKYRUGBY. He scored 44 tries in 60 tests for the All Blacks between 1993 and 2002 playing most of his provincial rugby for Otago and appearing 72 times for the Highlanders Super Rugby franchise.

Wilson, who also represented Otago and New Zealand at cricket becoming one of only seven ‘Double All Blacks’ in history, said he was looking forward to the event.

“When the opportunity came up I couldn’t wait to get on board. Heading down to Queenstown is an obvious attraction and hopefully we can give viewers a real insight into traditional sports that don’t get as much profile. It’s a great way to showcase these sports and have a bit of fun along the way,” he said.

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games founder and trustee, Steve Hollander said Jeff Wilson was a great match for the Games.

“Jeff has a real understanding of the fitness and technical skills required by some of the rural athletes who are coming to Queenstown. We’ve definitely got his name down for a couple of events but we’re keeping those under wraps for now to keep him guessing!” he said.

“Before rugby there were shearing and wood chopping competitions around New Zealand. It’s sports like these that forged our national character. You only have to look at the farming background of people like Richie McCaw who grew up on his family farm, and Sir Brian Lochore who sits on our board and has been farming all his life, to understand the strong links between our rural heritage and the sport for which New Zealand is most famous today.”

Sports Inc specialises in sports related programming and content. Managing Director, Kelsen Butler confirmed the company is sending a crew of eight to the Games including editors, directors and four cameras in addition to Jeff Wilson.

The Hilux New Zealand Rural Games feature several national championships for sports including speed shearing, sheep dog trials, speed fencing, gumboot throwing and coal shovelling as well as four Highland Games ‘heavy’ events and the Trans-Tasman ANZAXE Wood Chopping Championship.

Entertainment on both days is provided by the Topp Twins who also open a live concert on the Saturday evening headlined by local country pop sensation, Jody Direen.

Tickets for the two-day Games and concert are now sale via Ticket Direct.