As my former employer of 13 years, I owe a lot to World Rugby. I’ll always have unforgettable memories of working at four Rugby World Cups – in Australia, France, New Zealand and England – but it was the sevens series that took me away from home more than anything else, and where I first started working as a broadcast voice.
For my first couple of seasons in sevens (starting in Dubai back in December 2004) the TV highlights for each round were produced by ITV as part of their Rugby World Cup deal. At the end of that deal World Rugby (then the IRB) decided to take the highlights ‘in-house’ and appointed Proactive TV to produce them, which is when I first became involved. The question of a suitable narrator was raised. Nigel Starmer-Smith was an obvious candidate as the main voice on the TV commentary, but it was decided that linking to his own commentary wouldn’t work. So who could do it?
Long story short, they took a punt on the young guy working on the website and presenting Total Rugby Radio..
We’re now 13 years on and I’ve voiced pretty much every World Rugby highlights show that’s been produced since then, first by ProActive and now by 78Seventy. I’ve also worked at countless tournaments as a live world feed presenter and pitch-side reporter, but the highlights will always hold a special place.
Whether it’s a 26-minute sevens programme or a 52-minute show from a longer tournament like the women’s World Cup it’s always a pleasure to work on a script and travel to voice the programmes. World Rugby (through 78Seventy) is now one of a number of clients I have for voice work but I’ll never forget where it all started.