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Club rugby confirmed on ITV

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Professional club rugby in England has received a massive boost with the confirmation that Aviva Premiership Rugby will be shown on ITV for the next four years.

The renewal deal, struck by Premiership Rugby, guarantees rugby union highlights on ITV and ITV4 until the end of the 2016-17 season.

This season's show will be hosted on ITV by Mark Durden-Smith and will also feature Jill Douglas.

The contract complements Premiership Rugby's deal with BT Sport, which will show exclusive live action of Aviva Premiership Rugby for the next four years. BT Sport launched with live coverage of the J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s.

"Premiership Rugby has a commitment to grow the game in the UK so to secure Aviva Premiership Rugby, the JP Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s and the LV= Cup highlights on free TV is tremendous news and really underpins our commitment." said Premiership Rugby's Commercial Director, Dominic Hayes.

"ITV have made a real and long-term investment in club rugby in England over the past five years and we are looking forward to our relationship flourishing over the next four years.

"Rugby union is going to be huge in England over the coming years. Aviva Premiership Rugby goes from strength to strength, the Rugby World Cup will be held in 2015 and less than 12 months after rugby union will return to the Olympics.

"We are about to enter a golden era and having Aviva Premiership Rugby on free TV is a key part of that."

The ITV highlights show will air three times over every Aviva Premiership and LV= Cup weekend, with a regular 8pm Sunday evening slot on ITV4, followed by a run on ITV at around 11pm that evening, with a repeat on ITV4 on Monday nights.

Niall Sloane, ITV's Director of Sport, said: "This renewed deal underlines our long-term commitment to rugby union with the World Cup also coming up on ITV in 2015. Our new high-calibre presenting and reporting line-up this season will really bring the drama and passion of top-class club rugby to life on ITV."

* The first programme will be broadcast this Sunday night on ITV4 at 8pm, with highlights of the three Group rounds of the J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s.