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Channel 4 linked to fresh rugby rights deal

UK commercial broadcaster Channel 4 is set to enhance its rugby union coverage by acquiring rights to Wales’ three summer Test matches, according to multiple reports.

UK newspaper the Daily Mail said Channel 4 has agreed a deal with the Welsh Rugby Union for the national team’s games against South Africa in the US capital Washington D.C. on June 2, followed by two Tests against Argentina on June 9 and 16 in San Juan and Santa Fe.

The Mail said the WRU also held unsuccessful talks for the rights with internet company Amazon, while public-service broadcaster the BBC was also interested.

Channel 4 has no major history of rugby coverage, but in March acquired rights to the European Champions Cup rugby tournament.

The rights will run for four seasons, from 2018-19 to 2021-22, and Channel 4 will show one match per round during the club tournament’s pool stage, as well as one live match from each knockout round.