Nine, Fox win scrum for rugby rights

Duo will share 2011, 2015 broadcasts

SYDNEY -- Australian free-to-air channel Nine Network and pay TV broadcaster Fox Sports have acquired the Australian broadcast rights for the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and 2015.

The deal, signed with the International Rugby Board, marks a fourth major sports event in which broadcast rights will be shared between a pay netowrk and a free network here.

Last year, Foxtel and the Nine Network acquired the TV and digital media rights for the 2010 and 2012 winter and summer Olympic Games, and Foxtel and Network Ten will jointly broadcast next year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Under the rugby deal, announced Tuesday, Fox Sports has committed to broadcast all matches live around the country from both tournaments, while Nine will air the "big games," most likely the finals, semi-finals and any key matches featuring the Australian team.

The deal also includes mobile and online rights for all matches at both events. The 2011 event will be held in New Zealand, while a host nation for 2015 has yet to be selected.