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SportsSeptember 28, 2015

Sports: Champagne Rugby is the Alternative Commentary Collective’s Essential RWC Analysis Show

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It seems familiar: Four men in suits, discussing viewers’ tweets, talking about what’s happened during the week and what might happen next, then throwing to a man on the street who waves some cash around. These are the basic ingredients of most of the shows which have been commissioned in New Zealand this year. Champagne Rugby, a new rugby analysis series which debuted last week, uses them all.

Only, everything is off. The suits are beige, and the men’s feet are bare, or clad in jandals. The man on the street approaches strangers and starts trying to check out their underwear, before eventually being chased away. The tweets are sexual in nature, or racist, or both.

Champagne Rugby is a new online venture from the Alternative Commentary Collective, the supergroup of ‘00s TV stars (from Back of the Y, Moon TV and Eating Media Lunch) who’ve somehow taken over Hauraki, and it punctures everything from Paul Henry to The Breakdown with the same blunt and septic needle.

Set in a “giant ballbag”, in tribute to Buck Shelford’s legendary performance at Nantes, the show is less than useless as an RWC primer. But there’s been World Cup-related ‘banter’ on every station – even Morning Report has been in on the action – and someone needed to step in. No group are better qualified than the Alternative Commentary Collective who, having made cricket horrible, are now intent on doing the same for rugby.

Here’s a quick primer on key elements of the show, which plays weekly at the ACC site:


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The warning is there for a reason and definitely not a lie. Regular ACC listeners will find it tame, the rest of the country will find it offensive to everything they’ve ever believed.

Credit Sequence

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This is very literal and clearly where the entire budget went.

The Ballbag Set

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Made by Matt Heath’s old BOTY buddy Chris Stapp; a surprisingly plausible representation of an adult human scrotum.

Leigh Hart, Stats Guru

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The highlight of ep one is Leigh Hart’s statistical analysis, accompanied by key moments from the game tape.

Mike Lane Hits the Streets

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It’s like Paul Henry‘s nine in 10, except he’s risking arrest or a hiding.

Assessing the Matchups

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In-depth conversation about all the key upcoming matchups.


Watch Champagne Rugby on the ACC site here.

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