Stealing Rugby (2006)

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Released 17-Aug-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Animation
Featurette-Tour Of Twickenham, The After Dinner War
Featurette-Ross Turnball On 'Talking Sport'
Featurette-Things Fall Apart - The Teleconference
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 55:02
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    There have certainly been some interesting changes in international rugby during the last ten years or so, beginning with the chasm that opened up in the game around the time of the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. Two media moguls, Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer fought to take control of the game, from very different angles. Murdoch's organisation agreed to a deal with the Rugby Unions of South Africa, Australia & New Zealand for television rights to two new competitions, a southern hemisphere regional tournament, The Super 12 (now 14) and The Tri-Nations (a three way test series between the three nations). Unbeknownst to the Unions and Murdoch, a rival organisation called World Rugby Corporation (WRC) backed by Kerry Packer was signing deals directly with the players to take the game professional, offering them large contracts to play in a new breakaway tournament. This organisation quickly got the support of the players including the three captains of the countries involved, Sean Fitzpatrick, Francois Pienaar & Phil Kearns .

    This one hour documentary from the ABC goes into the details of the behind the scenes manouverings at the time and includes interviews with all the main players in the saga, with the exception of Murdoch and Packer. Interviews are included with Phil Harry (then head of the ARU), Simon Poideven, Dr Louis Luyt (the head of SA Rugby), Jock Hobbs and others from the NZRU, the three captains mentioned above, Ross Turnbull (leader of WRC), Sam Chisholm (who agreed to the deal with the Unions for Murdoch), Ian Ferrier and Peter Fitzsimons, whose book The Rugby War is used as source material for this documentary. Most of the interview material has been filmed recently, however, there is also a lot of archive footage from the time including a video conference between the players and WRC, Ross Turnbull and Louis Luyt arguing on SA television, and other news footage. This is a fascinating documentary which shows and retells what was going on behind the scenes rather than just what appeared in the media.

    A must for Rugby Fans.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is good.

    The feature is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.75:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture was variable depending on the age of the footage. The recent interviews were very clear and sharp but some of the archive footage was quite grainy and soft, which I suppose is to be expected, especially in the video conference recording. There was no evidence of low level noise.

    The colour was very good although there was some colour bleeding from light colours. There was some chroma noise and cross colourisation in the archive footage.

    The only noticeable video artefact was some very mild aliasing.

    There are subtitles in English which were clear and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 256 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    A few worthwhile extras are included.


    The menu was still and silent and allowed for turning subtitles on and off.

Tour of Twickenham (4:08)

    Although this is still generally speaking about Rugby its relevance is questionable. It is a short video version of a guided tour of Twickenham, the home of Rugby in England.

The After Dinner War (7:49)

    This is the complete footage of dinner speeches after the last test of the 1995 season, when the war over Rugby was at its height. It includes impassioned speeches about loyalty by Union representatives and is interesting viewing. Some of this footage is used in the main program.

Ross Turnbull on 'Talking Sport' (5:22)

    This is complete footage of Ross Turnbull on South African television explaining his concept. During the interview, Louis Luyt calls in to have an argument. Some of this footage is included in the main program.

Things Fall Apart : The Teleconference (6:05)

    More footage of the famous teleconference where WRC began to unravel. Again some of the footage was used in the main program, but this feature is certainly interesting.


R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This release is not available in other regions and was made for the ABC locally .


    A fascinating glimpse behind the facade of international rugby.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    A small set of interesting extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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