BBC iPlayer to replay Six Nations matches

Six Nations matches will be available on the BBC iPlayer, but only to stream and not to download

Rugby fans who miss a match, or who just want to relive the glory of a big victory will be able to do just that with the help of the BBC iPlayer.

The BBC holds the full rights to the Six Nations tournament, so each match will be simulcast live on TV and the BBC Sport website. Fans will also be able to use the iPlayer service to catch up on or repeat old matches up to seven days after they’ve been played.

Commenting on the news, BBC Sport's Ben Gallop, said: "We want viewers to be able to watch the best sporting action wherever and whenever they can, so getting the Six Nations onto BBC iPlayer is a major step forward.”

We contacted the BBC to ask whether rugby fans using a Windows-based operating system would be able to download matches and watch them later, however a spokesperson from the BBC press office told us that the iPlayer Six Nations catch-up service will only be available as a stream due to the complexities of negotiating sports rights.

Rights issues are a big headache for online video services like the iPlayer. You can't, for example, watch Match of the Day online because the BBC doesn't have the rights to provide Premier League highlights in this way.

Online rights often need to be renegotiated so that old programmes can be added to online catch-up TV services. Newer productions, however, will obviously try to take internet broadcasting into account when shows are commissioned. The new look BBC Three already plans to broadcast some of its key shows on digital TV and online.