Spark to simulcast today's RWC matches live on TVNZ's Duke channel

9:41 pm on 22 September 2019

Spark Sport says changes it has made will improve streaming quality but today's three games will screen live on TVNZ to provide confidence.

Under Armour Summer Series, Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales 31/8/2019
Wales vs Ireland
The Ireland team huddle after the game
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Ireland's Pool A match against Scotland will be screened live on TVNZ today. Photo: © INPHO 2018 / Dan Sheridan / Photosport

The three matches being played in Japan today are: Italy v Namibia from 4.45pm; Ireland v Scotland at 7.15pm and England against Tonga which kicks off at 9.45pm. They can be viewed on Duke which is on channel 13 or Sky channel 23.

Spark is also offering full or partial refunds to customers, depending on whether they wish to continue with the streaming service.

The decision follows a raft of complaints about the buffering and pixelation that occurred during last night's crucial match between the All Blacks and the Springboks in Yokohama.

Spark became so concerned about the quality of its feed that it decided the second half would be simulcast on TVNZ's free-to-air channel, Duke.

Today Spark Sport has blamed the problems on the overseas network that supplied the livestream.

Spark said the video stream is passed from its streaming platform in the United States via the network to broadband providers in New Zealand.

It said in a statement this afternoon that it is now confident the improvements it has made means it can provide a good viewing experience "but if customers are in any way unhappy with their stream, they will have the opportunity to watch on TVNZ Duke".

Spark Sport said it will also refund those customers who aren't happy with what they experienced for last night's match. Anyone who bought an All Blacks vs South Africa match pass can receive a full refund.

Those who bought a Tournament Pass and wish to leave the service can get a full refund and customers wishing to carry on will get a 15 percent refund.

Spark Sport's Andrew Pirie said it's unfortunate that streaming problems happened during the All Blacks' first match of the cup.

"Too many of our customers had a poor experience because of the quality of the video stream which is something that we own and we are responsible for.

"We are very sorry about that. That wasn't up to the standards we want to have so we moved as quickly as we can to give those customers an alternative viewing experience."

Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said he was happy there was the contingency with TVNZ's Duke channel and it kicked in after problems occurred.

"We will let Spark go through their technical process before we make any further comment but it is obvious that with an event like this Kiwis expect better delivery than last night," he said.

Spark said at this stage, the matches between Italy and Namibia and Ireland and Scotland have performed well.

It said the majority of Spark Sport customers have had a great viewing experience.