When Jaco Peyper blew his whistle for full time yesterday, Irish rugby fans knew that they were watching a historic moment with a Grand Slam captured on home ground for the very first time.
The scenes that unfolded in the minutes following were special. Seeing players and staff embrace with each other and their families, before watching one of the greats of Irish rugby lift the Six Nations trophy in front of a packed Aviva Stadium crowd.
Sadly, for anyone watching the game on ITV 1, which included a lot of Irish rugby fans in the north of the country, they had a very different perspective on the full time scenes.
🏆☘️ What a special moment for Johnny Sexton and Ireland. #IREvENGpic.twitter.com/uKoIBMApZn
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) March 18, 2023
At 7:15pm, ITV bizarrely switched their coverage from the game over to ITV 4 in order to show Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, much to the disapproval of many viewers and Irish rugby fans that were eager to watch the trophy ceremony.
By the time that ITV had switched coverage over to ITV 4, many of the victorious members of the Irish rugby squad had already received their medals.
Irish rugby fans react to ITV's coverage
If ITV had tweaked their scheduling slightly, it would have saved the broadcaster from being on the end a lot of criticism from their viewers interested in watching the rugby.
Many Irish rugby fans and viewers in general, took to twitter to vent their frustrations at the Brittish broadcaster.
ITV cutting away before the trophy presentation to show Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is very ITV
— Graham Love (@glove931) March 18, 2023
ITV 4 to watch the trophy 🏆 presentation to Ireland 🇮🇪 😪
IF England won the Grand Slam Ant + Dec would be told to hold the show for 30 mins that is guaranteed 🤔
— 𝐋𝐞𝐞 𝐉𝐚𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐬 (@LeeJarvis10) March 18, 2023
I’m sorry. But please, please tell me ITV haven’t just cut away from the Six Nations trophy presentation to Ant & Bloody Dec.
— Matthew Thompson (@mattuthompson) March 18, 2023
I bet if England were lifting the Grand Slam, ITV wouldn't move the trophy presentation over to ITV4.
— James Myles (@IrishRedDevil76) March 18, 2023
It certainly isn't a great look for ITV and whether it was just poor TV scheduling on their part or something else, it doesn't reflect well and unlikely that Irish rugby fans will forget about it any time soon.
As many fans alluded to in their tweets above, ITV would have undoubtedly had a different approach if it was the English team lifting the Grand Slam in the Aviva Stadium.