TVB Pearl to replay Rugby Sevens final after cutting live coverage
Broadcaster apologises for cutting live coverage of the dramatic decider between Fiji and Wales
The Hong Kong Rugby Sevens final will be broadcast on local television again - but only because TVB Pearl cut last month's decider after it overran its live coverage, causing viewers to miss the final dramatic minutes of the game.
In response to a deluge of complaints, TVB yesterday said it "sincerely and unreservedly apologised" for the disappointment caused to its viewers by the interruption, and would rebroadcast the match tomorrow at 8pm with no commercials.
It will be small consolation for Sevens fans who missed the actual ending a fortnight ago.
"It's not as if Wales are now going to come back in the second half and win the final instead of Fiji. It's a totally pointless exercise," said David Simpson, a local entrepreneur.
"But it's no wonder they've issued an official apology. My phone was hopping with texts from friends who were furious at not seeing the last minutes of the game."
Fiji claimed the trophy, beating Wales 26-19 after being 19-0 down at half-time.
But the broadcaster was blasted by rugby fans after it cut away from a finely poised final with minutes to go - to show its regular news broadcast.
With the score at 19-19 midway through the second half, TVB apologised onscreen to viewers and advised them to catch the rest of the match on its website.
The broadcaster said in a letter to the South China Morning Post that the move was definitely "not the most satisfactory arrangement".
"While we fully understand that the thrill of watching the closing moments of the game can never be repeated if one has missed them, we hope that the broadcast will go some way to enable our viewers to enjoy the pulsating contest once again," said Janet Wan, TVB's manager of corporate and community relations. TVB said it took these steps in response to feedback from viewers, and that it would review its arrangements for televising major live sports in the future to avoid similar incidents.
Organisers, the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, explained that injuries and other time lapses during the game caused TVB's live coverage to overrun.
The controversy did not unduly affect the event though, and it proved a huge success as usual.
Organisers are hoping that the city's next big international rugby fixture will be as great an attraction as the Sevens.
On June 1, the British Lions will play a historic match against the Barbarians at the Hong Kong Stadium.
It will be the first major rugby 15-a-side international in the city since the second Bledisloe Cup encounter between the All Blacks and the Wallabies in 2010.