Rugby is in Sarra Elgan's blood. Daughter to former Wales and Lions international Elgan Rees, she practically grew up on the rugby pitches of Wales, so it's no surprise her career revolves around bringing the biggest moments on the field into viewers' living rooms.

Currently anchoring S4C's Rugby World Cup coverage, and showing why she truly is one of Wales' top broadcasters of any genre, Sarra's bread and butter is presenting for TNT Sports, formerly BT Sport, and reporting pitch-side at Gallagher Premiership and European fixtures, while she is part of the furniture on S4C rugby chat show Jonathan, alongside Jonathan 'Jiffy' Davies and Nigel Owens.

On camera and off it, Sarra has a warmth and generosity that could probably put a dead body at ease, while she has perfected the ability of adapting to live situations to nail the tone of an on-screen interview and get the most out of her guests.

"I suppose everyone’s got different styles: being more laid-back and having a chat is probably more my style," she tells WalesOnline. "The important thing when you’re on camera is to make viewers at home think they’re there with you, you’re not preaching. I want them to feel like they’re part of the chat with us. That’s what it is in light entertainment and other programmes, so I don’t see why it can’t be that in sport as well. It has to be informative as well."

While the chatty approach often makes rugby coverage more accessible and relaxed, it is not to be confused with winging it or rocking up and hoping for the best. While many women working in the sports industry have spoken about feeling like they have to work twice as hard in a male-dominated industry, Sarra does so for other reasons.

"I personally haven’t felt any sort of prejudice to being a woman. Everyone has been really gracious and lovely, as they should, I guess, to anyone that’s presenting or interviewing them.

"I’ve never played the game like Austin Healey or Ugo Monye or people I work with, so I want to try and bring something else to it. So I work harder on the prep that I do, the facts, figures, stats. Every member of a presentation team brings something different. We all work hard. I bring different things to the party, which is why I work hard in that sense because I’ve never played."

Aside from her presenting nous and knack for translating raw emotion into epic TV moments, another inescapable aspect of Sarra's presence on screen is her comfort in her own skin. Being able to be her authentic self at work is something which allows her to be fully comfortable doing what she loves.

"Yes, I’m blonde. Yes, I love fake tan. Yes, I love make-up. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that I love rugby and I know rugby. Everyone has to be themselves, you shouldn’t have to change the way you are to conform. That’s always been really important to me, because I don’t think I can present the way I want to present if I don’t present myself the way I want to present myself, because you’re trying to be someone that you’re not, then. I 100% take advice but I love big hair, I love make-up, I am a girly girl in that sense, but I also love sport and in this day and age you should be able to do both."

How Sarra watches a rugby game has changed dramatically since her childhood days of rushing to the newsagents opposite The Gnoll for a 10p pick 'n' mix before watching her dad play for Neath, but it's where her love of the game was fostered.

"Every weekend I was down at The Gnoll watching him play. I think he was probably in his mid-30s when he finished playing so I remember quite a lot of his latter years playing for Neath. I used to love watching him play. There are so many fantastic memories there watching him play, and going with my mum to watch him play."

Broadcasting was always on the cards. After A-levels, Sarra studied theatre, media and music at what was then Trinity College in Carmarthen, soon afterwards landing a role in Welsh soap Pobol y Cwm. "I was in Pobol y Cwm, I loved it, made some great friends - but I wasn’t a great actress!" she laughs. "It was the presenting that I always wanted to do."

Her first presenting gig was on S4C children's show Planed Plant, before presenting for children's TV for the BBC in London, before a rugby programme for Planed Plant proved pivotal in launching her sports broadcasting career. "I’ve enjoyed rugby and being a part of different rugby teams ever since," she said.

"Years ago, it wasn’t as accessible as it is now. Thank goodness that’s changed now, with more women in sports broadcasting. It was always something I hoped to do.

"I’ve been fortunate enough to have people guide me in my career who I’m thankful for helping me, and without those people I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing now. People don’t realise sometimes, when they give someone an opportunity, how much that means to them. Unless you get that opportunity, you can’t prove yourself. I am really thankful to all those people for giving me a chance."

One of her first ever rugby reporting jobs was Wales' shock defeat to Fiji at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, which saw Wales exit at the pool stages and coach Gareth Jenkins sacked. In the depths of Covid in 2021, Sarra was the face of Sky Sports' coverage of the Lions tour to South Africa, while she is now covering just her second Rugby World Cup, in France for S4C, and has unlocked the emotions of some of rugby's biggest names along the way.

Her live interview with England prop Kyle Sinckler just days after he missed out on Lions squad selection did more to soothe dry eyes than any drops could, with the front-rower's emotion spilling over after an overwhelming week.

"I’ve interviewed Kyle quite a lot and he does wear his heart on his sleeve but he is quite a private person as well," Sarra recalls. "I just think he’d had a really difficult week and that emotion spilt over. He had a brilliant game, wanted to prove himself.

"You just have to suss a situation out without being too intrusive. If that person wants to give you something, they’ll want to give it to you themselves.

"That has to be one of my most memorable moments in the job, because that was pure, raw emotion that we saw. I found it endearing. You felt what he’d been through that week. That was special, and it was nice on the Lions tour to be able to interview him having gone [after he was later called up]."

Another career highlight comes from the same tour, when an Alun Wyn Jones who was usually impassive in front of the media choked up at playing his last game in a Lions jersey, having pulled on the famous red jersey an incredible 12 times over four tours.

"That’s one that sticks in memory, because of the emotion, because he’s achieved so much in rugby and in that Lions shirt, he’d obviously been through so much to get out on that Lions tour, that was a special interview at the end of that last Test.

"That whole experience was special. Never once did I take for granted how fortunate I was to be out there during that time. The team ended up being a very small team out there: basically myself, Bryan Habana, a producer and cameraman. Then everybody else was back in Britain. Everything else that was going on in the world was horrific at the time... sport brings a certain amount of escapism. That was a really special time."

Thinking on your feet and reacting to the unexpected are part and parcel of the job, while Sarra is fully responsible for the questions she asks post-match.

"It’s kind of like a cauldron of ideas on match day that the viewers then see at home. So much work goes into it. That’s what I do find exciting about live sport, you never quite know what’s going to happen.

"I often don’t know who I’ve got at the end of the game until 30 minutes before the full-time whistle. Often you’re standing there preparing to interview one player and you’ve got questions in your head and suddenly someone else comes. Going back to saying maybe my style is more chatty, that’s where that maybe comes in handy.

"You have to think of what the viewers at home want to know and want to hear from a person you’re interviewing. I think that is one thing I’m always quite wary of: ‘what would I want to hear?’ or ‘what would I want to ask?’

"When a team loses, those questions are tougher and those questions have to be asked but I think more and more these days the players and coaches appreciate that you have to ask those questions. There are ways of asking questions that have to be asked. It depends on the situation."

Speaking of situations, England and Harlequins front-rower Joe Marler threw up an awkward one in a comical post-match interview in which he claimed he had received a "token" player of the match award only because he was happy to be interviewed on camera.

Sarra denied that claim, but looks back on that interview fondly. "Joe is a character. You always know you’re going to get something fun from Joe. I think it’s important that the game has characters. I know a lot of people got on Joe’s back for some of the things he’s done and stuff but we do want characters in the game. We’re kind of getting back to that a bit more now. That makes it more interesting."

Away from watching rugby with her presenting/reporting hat on, Ireland provide the perfect opportunity to watch rugby for pure, relaxed enjoyment: Sarra's former Ireland international husband Simon Easterby is now defence coach on Andy Farrell's coaching roster. For the last Rugby World Cup in 2019, Sarra and the couple's two children followed Ireland around Japan for three weeks as fans.

The couple rarely cross paths professionally and they don't often dissect rugby at home, but just remembering a historical interview involving the pair has Sarra in stitches. "I haven’t interviewed Simon for years, but I remember I interviewed him years ago when I was a reporter for S4C and Simon was still playing. We’re talking about 15 years ago. I remember being pitchside, Simon and Stephen Jones sitting in the stand, it was one of those roving interviews. I spoke to Steve like I would any other player, and I turned to Simon and it was almost like I’d never met him before in my life. It was awful! I’ve interviewed him since and it’s been a little bit less awkward but that was interesting. I think I’d be different now, years down the line. But I’d only just started doing it and it was really funny, very awkward."

Sarra's compass is firmly pointed to home, even after late-night Gallagher Premiership shifts the length and breadth of England. Wherever she may be working, she always likes to try and get home to south Wales.

"I’ve got two kids, and Si is at home, and I’m really close to my mum and dad. I love my job and I love the team that I work with, but I also love coming home. I do stay away sometimes for European games and stuff, but I would just rather get home late and see the kids in the morning."

Being able to speak Welsh is also something close to her heart. "That’s always been really important to me. I never wanted to live anywhere else apart from Wales. I was a real home bird, close to my family, always wanted my kids to grow up here and have a Welsh education. I’m so grateful to S4C. They gave me an opportunity in sport, so be able to do both [Welsh and English work], I feel so lucky."

The landscape of sports broadcasting has changed tenfold since Sarra first set her sights on breaking into the industry, with many more women on our screens and behind the cameras, while London is no longer viewed as the only place to be if you want to be successful.

"I’m so happy now for future generations - you have to see people to want to be them. There are so many female reporters, presenters, pundits, commentators on screen now for young girls to try and be if that’s what they want. Whereas when I was younger, there wasn’t that.

"I did get told quite a few times or words to the effect of ‘you’re a bit too blonde, you’re a bit too young’... those kind of things, but I never wanted to change."