Bower, ruled out of Rugby World Cup contention due to injury, and 28-Test halfback Andy Ellis kicked off the show on NZR+ with France-based former All Black Victor Vito helping set the stage for rugby’s global showpiece.
Black Fern Stacey Waaka, one of the heroes of the Black Ferns Rugby World Cup victory in New Zealand last year, will join the show from October and the trio of rugby stars will be kept in line by the Front Row Daily Show’s expert presenters James McOnie, Elma Smit and Laura-Lane Jones.
The first three shows are live now and fans can view new episodes six days a week on NZR+ the new digital streaming platform launched by New Zealand Rugby throughout the tournament. Some episodes will also be posted to the All Blacks YouTube channel.
The Front Frow Daily Show crew will be joined during their 58-day roadie by current and past All Blacks players and coaches, as well as stars from a variety of other international teams, as they put their unique spin on all the action and antics on and off the field, all the while trying to keep their quirky black bus on the road.
Executive Producer and award-winning New Zealand journalist Ric Salizzo, best known as the creator of the popular 1990s television show SportsCafe, said the show would mix humour, culture, fun and footy with the goal of taking fans on a roller coaster ride through the tournament.
“I’m delighted to be back working with New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks. My passion for the team has not changed over the years, and The Front Row Daily Show is just a great chance to put the fans at the heart of the action in France.”
Free to subscribe to and available globally, NZR+ features a catalogue of behind the scenes, exclusive, and original content that can’t be found anywhere else. Podcasts, the NZR Podcast, Small Blacks TV and content series on key moments in the history of New Zealand’s representative teams can be viewed at www.nzrplus.com or by downloading the NZR+ app.
Front Row Daily Show Cast
Andy Ellis – All Black #1068
Ellis is a Rugby World Cup winner with the All Blacks in 2011, and multiple Super Rugby winner with the Crusaders. As well as 28 Tests for the All Blacks, he has also played in Japan for Kobelco Steelers and most recently in the US for Rugby New York.
George Bower - All Black #1194
Bower is a current All Black who joins the Front Row Daily Show following injury that ruled him out of the Rugby World Cup. He is a multiple Super Rugby champion with the Crusaders and has played 22 Test for the All Blacks.
Stacey Waaka – Black Fern #183
Waaka is one of New Zealand’s most decorated women’s rugby players, with two Rugby World Cups titles with the Black Ferns to her name, and well as an Olympic Sevens gold medal from Tokyo 2020. She joins the Front Row Daily Show from the start of October.
Elma Smit – Presenter
The South African producer-presenter first covered a Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011 when she became the first woman to ever report on Rugby’s global showpiece, for African broadcast giant SuperSport. Since then, she has added being the lead producer in the Springboks’ bubble during the British & Irish Lions Tour of 2021 to her CV, but also a stint as Producer-Presenter on Rugby World Cup Daily for World Rugby in 2019 and coverage of the ICC Cricket World Cup for the ICC as a digital “Insider” in 2019. These days she works as the account director for all rugby work from Whisper’s London office, while hosting the leading women’s rugby podcast The Good The Scaz & The Rugby, alongside Emily Scarratt and Mo Hunt.
Laura-Jane Jones – Presenter
Laura-Jane Jones is a Swiss Army Knife of TV production with 15 years in the industry behind her. ‘LJ’ has travelled the world covering rugby, and has extensive experience in the women’s game; a decade of covering Women’s 6 Nations, domestic women’s rugby and last year’s Rugby World Cup in NZ.
James McOnie – Presenter
McOnie is a much-loved and talented sports journalist and broadcaster with a broad knowledge of rugby, who has also forged a reputation for his sense of humour and ability to see the lighter side of sport on a variety of platforms including Sky’s The Crowd Goes Wild since 2006. Proudly hailing from Te Awamutu in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island, he’s a Chiefs and All Blacks fan since forever.
Ric Salizzo – Executive Producer
Salizzo ONZM is an award-winning New Zealand journalist, television presenter and producer. He is best known for producing and presenting long-running sports chat show SportsCafe, as well as executive producing and occasionally presenting sports current events show The Crowd Goes Wild. Since 2020 he has acted as CEO of MLR franchise, Rugby New York.