With growing advances in technology and a driving demand for more exclusive content, rugby is arguably at its most accessible point in the history of the sport.
Fans want to see more than what they see on their screens or from the stands on a Saturday or Sunday, they want to see what goes on behind the scenes. They want to see what makes players tick, what motivates them, what they struggle with and what they go through on a daily basis.
These next five documentaries and mini-series from the last year show all that and more.
1. ‘XV’ – Harlequins
The first of BT Sport’s XV documentaries follow London club Harlequins, and the build up to their December clash with Premiership rivals Gloucester.
The documentary offers behind the scenes access to the players and coaching staff and follows such storylines as the fallout from Chris Robshaw’s World Cup campaign, Welsh international Jamie Roberts arrival at the club, the Quins tradition and Marland Yarde’s relationship with his mother Marina.
It is a revealing look at the many different characters and dynamics that exist at Quins and is well worth watching.
2. Pre-Season With The Hurricanes
Sky Sports ‘Pre-Season With The Hurricanes’ follows last year’s Super Rugby finalists the Wellington Hurricanes and their preparations for the upcoming 2016 Super Rugby season.
The muilti-part series offers an insight into the traditions of the Hurricanes, its newest squad members and how they’re coping with life in Wellington and also how prop Lone Uhila use’s boxing to help him with more than just rugby.
The series has a nice blend between player and coach insight and follows a team that is look to shed the demons of a Super Rugby final loss.
3. ‘The Academy’ – Leinster Rugby
Leinster Rugby’s in-house mini-series ‘The Academy’ follows recruits from Leinster’s famed youth academy which has funneled several academy products into the province’s first team this season.
The first episode follows academy prop Peter Dooley and how he’s coping with life in Dublin after being reared in rural Ireland. The episode documents Peter’s upbringing, his life with flatmates Adam Byrne, Tom Daly and Josh van Der Flier and his diet and how he prepares for games.
Episode 2 features team and flatmate Adam Byrne as Leinster look to give introduce their future stars in a well produced, thoughtful series.
4. ‘The Making Of Black’ – New Zealand Rugby
A comprehensive and powerful documentary on what the All Blacks jersey means to New Zealanders, the All Blacks and the opposition.
The show debuted the day before New Zealand’s 2015 Rugby World Cup final win over Australia and interviews players, coaches and designers into what makes the All Blacks the All Blacks.
Rugby greats Richie McCaw, John Eales, Martin Johnson, Thierry Dusatoir and Gareth Edwards are all interviewed and the doc provides a compelling and comprehensive overview of the history of the All Blacks and the future of the jersey and team.
5. Sam Greene: The Rugby Documentary
‘The Rugby Documentary’ by Brisbane filmmaker The Waterboy follows Queensland Reds outhalf Sam Greene and his rise from junior to professional rugby.
The first episode follows Greene’s schoolboy days for Brisbane Grammar with the series progressing through his breakout grade campaign with Wests and his trials and tribulations with Brothers Rugby and how he is learning from Wallabies back James O’Connor.
An independent series and one that follows a dynamic young fly-half and his progress into making the jump from amateur to professional.
Read More About: Adam Byrne, Bt Sport XV, Gareth Edwards, John Eales, Martin Johnson, mini-series, Peter Dooley, pre-season documentary, richie mccaw, Rugby documentary, Sam Greene, Sky Sports Hurrcianes, sports doco, The Academy, The Making Of Black