Netflix’s one-size fits all approach misses the real selling point of rugby union | Andy Bull

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Six Nations: Full Contact focuses on interviews with the sport’s stars when the real draws are the odd couple Italy coaches who scream authenticity

Be honest, the most compelling thing about reality TV has never been the winning. What people really want to see is a little bit of suffering, whether it’s someone being eviscerated by the judges, chowing down on kangaroo testicles, or pretending to be a cat and licking milk out of the cupped hands of the woman from Coronation Street. It’s no surprise, then, that the real star of Netflix’s new rugby series, Six Nations: Full Contact, isn’t Ireland, who won the grand slam last year, or France, who pushed them so close, but Italy, who lost all five games they played, and finished flat last.

The series ends – spoiler! – with their head coach, Kieran Crowley, reflecting on the fact that he’s most likely about to be out of a job. A caption adds that yes, just a few months later, the Italian Rugby Federation decided it wasn’t going to renew his contract. Crowley has already taken up a job with Honda Heat in Japan’s Rugby League One, but watching Full Contact you wonder if he has missed his calling. Some enterprising producer surely ought to have already commissioned a travel series featuring Crowley and his sidekick, the former Taranaki dairy farmer Neil Barnes.

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Written by Andy Bull
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