A sit-down with Planet Rugby's Editor ahead of the Six Nations

As we gear up to an unmissable Six Nations, Planet Rugby Editor, Adam Kyriacou, looks back at Planet Rugby's success during the Rugby World Cup in France and forward to what's planned for the upcoming tournament.
The Rugby World Cup was an incredible spectacle from start to finish. Tell us about Planet Rugby’s activity throughout last year’s Rugby World Cup and how it went about engaging fans throughout the tournament?

It was a hugely successful period as we exceeded our objectives in terms of page views and unique users. Our usual content that includes breaking news, exclusive features and match reports was topped up with more regular player ratings and takeaways pieces from the experts. Promoting this new content attracted thousands of new followers and engaged viewers to our social media handles too. 

We made sure we had a strong Planet Rugby contingent in France for the tournament. Having boots on the ground there really helped paint a picture of the mood in the country, adding to a healthy mix of coverage for readers. 

What was your personal RWC highlight? Was it a particular content activation; a game you watched; a stunning moment? 

There are so many moments to choose from with the likes of Portugal, Chile and Uruguay's performances in the pool stages catching the eye, and that quarter-final weekend (less said about the pre-Rugby World Cup seedings the better) being absolutely gripping.  

The stadium attendances from the rugby mad public in France, while expected, provided so much in terms of atmosphere. It's just a shame France didn't go deeper in the competition, as that would have been special for them.

Wrapped up in the production of consumer content, Planet Rugby also partners with brands to activate its wide userbase during big tournaments and throughout the year. Tell us how this works, what the benefits are, and an example? 

We really enjoy partnering with exciting brands. For the World Cup, Planet Rugby kicked off a great partnership with investing and trading platform, eToro.

The first content activation sponsored by eToro saw the introduction of Captain's Call, hosted by our YouTube pundit Two Cents Rugby. Joining him were Italian international legend Sergio Parisse, former England skipper Chris Robshaw, and Planet Rugby's very own James While. 

Having such rugby legends involved with Planet Rugby and its partners is exciting for us. It helps further grow our audiences and provides exclusive content angles that readers won’t find anywhere else.

More than 4 million monthly users visited Planet Rugby during the World Cup, thanks in part to this great podcast series. We have a huge global audience, so our partners really benefit from leverage it to raise the profile of their own business. 

The proof is in the pudding as we’ve continued our partnership with eToro for both the Premiership and upcoming Six Nations.

Can you give us a preview of what Planet Rugby and eToro are doing for the Six Nations?

We've got some really exciting names joining us: Bernard Jackman, Adam Jones, Nick Easter, Paul Gustard, and potentially one or two others working with us.

We're doing Predictions and Teams of the Round, plus publishing a number of longer analytical columns from the experts. Over the course of the tournament, each expert is going to pick a star with an outstanding single attribute to help build the ultimate Six Nations player.

Take a deeper look at the Rugby World Cup partnership below.

There have been a considerable number of high-profile stars who’ve either retired or stepped down from international duty ahead of the 2024 Six Nations. Do you think this will affect interest, content output and tournament success?

There certainly has with Owen Farrell, Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar, Johnny Sexton, Antoine Dupont and many more not involved in this year's Six Nations for one reason or another. Dupont will return in the future after his spell in Sevens, but for those other players mentioned it feels very much like the end of an era. 

However, that creates opportunities for others, and it will be exciting to see how teams begin their next cycle ahead of the 2027 Rugby World Cup. Interest in the Six Nations shouldn't wane as its history and the fact it largely airs on terrestrial television is always a driver in attracting fans.

Who are the new, exciting players coming through that you think will really make their mark for the first time at the 2024 Six Nations?

For England there's very much a Northampton Saints feel to the backline, and it will be interesting to see how many of those players feature in the starting XV alongside the likes of Marcus Smith and Ollie Lawrence.  

It's a new era for Ireland with Jack Crowley set to take over in the 10 jersey from the retired Sexton, but he's shown enough for Munster to suggest a long and fruitful international career in that shirt.  

Wales is very much a changing of the guard as a new-look squad is led by the impressive Dafydd Jenkins, while for Scotland and France I'm looking forward to seeing plenty of the free-scoring Johnny Matthews and Nolann Le Garrec this year.  

Finally, Italy will hope Benetton's form in 2023/24 translates to the Test scene and they can pick up a rare win.

Planet Rugby has connections with some of the game’s biggest names: Chris Robshaw, Sergio Parisse, Schalk Brits, to name a few. How do Planet Rugby’s connections elevate the brand of Planet Rugby and its partners?  

Our team of writers are an outstanding group who provide excellent content both on the website and for social media. However, having current and former players involved in the brand provides extra insight into how players and coaches think and their knowledge of the game. That can only help raise the reputation of Planet Rugby and its partners.

What is Planet Rugby’s commercial and content strategy to grow the brand further over the next 12-18 months? 

The past year has been a discovery of what works and what doesn't work in terms of numbers on the website and learning from that moving forward. High-profile partnerships, player connections and more enticing headlines have also helped in that regard. 

The Planet Rugby team has also taken on more specific roles with greater responsibility, which contributed to a successful 2023. 

2024 will be about growing our already solid readership base, while adding further video presence and exclusive content that benefit commercial deals.

And finally, of course we have to ask. What are your predictions for the 2024 Six Nations?

The Six Nations immediately after a World Cup year is always an interesting one as often teams have a changing of the guard as they look to plan long-term for the next World Cup. However, the squad announcements haven't been overly drastic this time around with possibly Wales being the only team making significant changes. 

Ireland, France and England will of course be viewed as the main contenders, but Scotland have a fantastic chance if they can get the job done in Cardiff in the opening round. Win that game and they're in the hunt as they then have France and England at home.  

We have an incredible match to start the tournament though, with France v Ireland. The winner of that could have one hand on the trophy. Les Bleus also host England so in terms of the draw, it could be their year. 


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