Maggie named in Sky Sports Rugby's Lions coverage line-up
Maggie Alphonsi has been named as part of Sky Sports' coverage of the British & Irish Lions 2021 Castle Lager Series in South Africa this summer.
Maggie joins a star-studded line-up to guide viewers throughout the tour. Host Alex Payne will be joined by legends of the game including former Lions and Wales captain Sam Warburton, Ireland’s leading points-scorer Ronan O’Gara and England’s World Cup winners Will Greenwood and Maggie. For Maggie, she is making history again as she becomes the first woman to be part of the punditry team on a British & Irish Lions Test series, after being the first female to commentate on men's international rugby back in 2015.
Four-time Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan and Nigel Owens – the highest capped referee of all time – will also add their expert insight and analysis from the studio, Reporter Sarra Elgan will be on the ground in South Africa with former South Africa winger Bryan Habana. Conor McNamara will provide the commentary for every match of the Tour to complete the Sky Sports line-up.
"I am truly honoured to be part of the Sky Sports coverage of the British & Irish Lions Tour," said Maggie. "The Lions tour only comes around once every four years and to be part of the broadcasting team is special. We all have different perspectives and personalities that will appeal to all and attract new audiences. I have always dreamt that one day I would be able to wear that red jersey. That opportunity never came my way but to be part of the team that will showcase the game for millions to see is a privilege.
“The Lions tour 2021 is going to be one to remember. A tour with no travelling fans and games being played behind closed doors is something I have never experienced before. It will be a different tour but one I cannot wait to be a part of."
Sky Sports The Lions will be the home of the British & Irish Lions 2021 Castle Lager Series in South Africa. The pop-up channel – available on Sky and NOW – will provide round the clock coverage of the tour for 24 days of coverage as Warren Gatland’s squad take on the World Champions.
Rugby fans will be able to watch a total of eight live games from the tour, kicking off with the first warm-up game against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg on 3rd July. On the 2nd of July, Sky Sports and NOW viewers will be able to see the Lions’ opposition in action as South Africa take on Georgia in a warm-up game for the hosts.
Replacing Sky Sports Action from Saturday 17th July until 10th August, the new pop-up channel will be the place to take in the final warm-up game for the Lions against DHL Stormers before the three Test matches get underway. Rugby fans will of course be able to watch the preceding four warm-up games in South Africa live on Sky Sports Arena until the pop-up channel launches on 17th July.
With the series being played behind closed doors meaning that the iconic Lions supporters will be unable to travel to South Africa, former Lions legend Scott Quinnell will be Sky Sports’ roving reporter from the Sky Sports Fan Van brought to you by Laithwaites as he travels the length and breadth of the UK to hear the stories of fans and ex-players cheering on the touring side from the UK. Lions fans can look forward to daily content across social media as well as live broadcasts from pubs and rugby clubs across the country.
The coverage of the Lions tour will include an hour of build-up and post-match analysis, increasing to 90 minutes of build-up for the Test matches. In addition, following the launch of the pop-up channel, rugby fans can enjoy a leisurely start to Sundays, as they take in the Lions Breakfast Show – a look back at events from the previous day’s matches, dissecting newspaper analysis, and much more.
What’s more, Sky Sports and NOW customers will have access to Chasing The Sun – a five episode documentary on Springbok rugby that looks into themes on and off the pitch, and culminating with South Africa captain Siya Kolisi lifting the 2019 World Cup. And if that isn’t enough Lions content, Will Greenwood’s podcast will feature throughout the tour – featuring special guests including Gregor Townsend and South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber – which will be available to listen on skysports.com and other podcast platforms.