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It is said that the public had difficulty in following sporting commentary in the earliest of days. The first commentators paid scant regard to telling their listeners where play was situated at any time on the field. But rugby found an early answer for this problem. Listeners would place the map in front of their radios at home.
An assistant would then sit behind the commentator and call out over the top of the broadcaster the number of the square where the game had moved to on the field.
The first test match to be broadcast involving the All Blacks was in South Africa in Listening to full calls of the old McCarthy commentaries, the best part of his style was the rising and falling excitement he communicated by use of voice inflection.
He introduced for the first time, tension, pace and tempo to rugby commentary. Scrapbooks of that tour contain numerous profiles of McCarthy, often written ahead of news about the actual players!
McCarthy went on all the All Black tours until , thereafter he commentated only home tests until He was still commentating All Black trials and some tour matches as late as His last tour as a reporter was as a columnist for Truth, to South Africa in First experiments in television broadcasts of games came in Britain and the USA in the s.
When TV arrived in New Zealand there soon arose a stern debate about whether matches should be telecast live in direct opposition to other rugby being played in New Zealand.
It is not widely remembered that Saturday provincial matches of the Springboks tour in were not permitted to be broadcast live on radio. Radio news broadcasts, sparse as they were in those days, did not dare to give away the result beforehand.
However test matches were always live. Club games all over the country were played earlier on those days to allow people to be present in front of their radios by mid-afternoon.
Rugby tests were not shown live on TV until Throughout the 60s games were delayed from Saturdays through to Sunday evenings. In those days there were no microwave links around New Zealand so bulky videotapes had to be flown overnight from the city where the test match had been played to each of the regional channels.
The first live telecast involving an All Black team came from Twickenham in Of course it was never shown in New Zealand as there was no local TV system in operation. TVNZ now holds an archives copy of the game. Such bizarre happenings could never be contemplated today.
The commentator was Charles Martin. The first live telecast of a test match in New Zealand came in from Eden Park when the All Blacks won by , then a record test score. Television was still in black and white in those days. The commentator was Bill McCarthy no relation to Winston , who was later to become a network news presenter.
Earlier the first satellite telecast to come in live to New Zealand had been Wales v New Zealand late in from Cardiff. Thereafter telecasts became a regular feature of weekly winter domestic television. By all All Black test matches — wherever they were played — were shown live on TV.
They have steadily expanded coverage so that by the early years of the new century not only all tests, both at home and abroad, were shown, but all representative matches were telecast as well.
There were many compliments paid to the full coverage of all 32 games. The final in was scheduled to be covered in High Definition by 38 live cameras, and screened to an unprecedented international rugby audience. Notes: 1.