Monday 24 October 2016

Hook reunites with punditry pals for live World Cup shows

Published 06/08/2015 | 02:30

Tom McGurk
Tom McGurk

The boys are back in town, as every rugby fan's favourite punditry panellists have reunited and signed for a new team.

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He bowed off our screens earlier this year as he embarked on his television retirement, but veteran broadcaster George Hook will be reunited with his former colleagues - Brent Pope, Conor O'Shea and Tom McGurk - to raise funds for the Irish charity Haven.

The often controversial panel have come together for the 'CityJet Rugby World Cup Live' series of events, which are set to be broadcast from the RDS.

The panel has reunited for five live broadcasts for Ireland's Rugby World Cup pool matches, including a show they have pencilled in for a quarter-final in the hope that we progress from the pool stage.

The events, which will be broadcast in front of an audience of 300 people, will be streamed live exclusively on

George (74) is a longtime supporter of Haven, which works on the ground in Haiti, and said the cause convinced him to emerge from his punditry retirement.

"It was my idea, because I was the first ever volunteer for Haven. We will be doing on stage what we do on television and we will be streaming it live on

"The great advantage is that we won't have ad breaks and we won't be interviewing the parish priest. There will be a few less rules."

Rachel Wyse is to chair the panel and she met the trio together for the first time yesterday.

During the show, the team will appear on stage before and after every game, as well at half-time. And they will be joined by a number of special guests, including 'Après Match' star Risteard Cooper.

Ian Mallon, Head of Content with Independent News and Media (INM), said said he was "delighted" to have them on board.

"Their views have set the rugby agenda for a decade; now the only place to see Tom McGurk, Brent Pope, Conor O'Shea and George Hook during the Rugby World Cup is live on," he said.

"INM's combination of expert columnists, analysis and breaking news will deliver unbeatable Rugby World Cup coverage online and in print and we are delighted to have the panel as part of our team."

McGurk said he was very excited to be part of the event and compared the panel with Jeremy Clarkson and the former 'Top Gear' team who recently announced their new deal with Amazon Prime.

"It is a huge change. I am excited because the numbers of people watching television under the age of 35 is shrinking," he added.

Irish Independent

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