Over 16 years three nations that consistently remained in the top-three of the world, with combined six WorldCups to their names, have battled it out in what was by virtue of the team’s rankings the toughest rugby competition in the world.
In 2012, Argentina will become the fourth nation to participate in the Southern Hemisphere’s preeminent international tournament. This adds a travel leg to South America, and in the past the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies teams have found how tough it is to play against the Pumas in their own backyard.
SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said anticipation was building for The Investec Rugby Championship.
“With the Pumas entering The Rugby Championship, they join the top-three teams in the world which adds a completely new dimension to what has been a fantastic tournament over the past 16 years.”Peters said.
“For many years the Pumas havesought the chance to compete in a regular international Tournament and their third placed finish at the 2007 Rugby World Cup has been backed up by multiple wins against France, England, Scotland andvItaly over recent seasons.”
“Now they will play against the ‘best of the best’ joining an elite group that has not only claimed six Rugby World Cups, but have compelling winning records against all of their Northern Hemisphere rivals.”
Mendoza, La Plata and Rosario will make their tournament debuts and enter the history books as the first three Argentinean locations to host matches in The Rugby Championship. Interest is high in Argentina with the All Blacks match at La Plata sold out some time ago.
The Pumas will visit Cape Town, Wellington and the Gold Coast in their away matches.
All four rugby nations were in action over the historic June international test series, which saw Super Rugby take a break for the first time in its history.
Reigning Tri-Nations champions the Wallabies suffered a shock 6-9 defeat to Scotland in their first match over June, but accounted for Six Nations Grand Slam champions Wales 3-0 over their test series (27-19 Brisbane, 25-23 Melbourne, 20-19 Sydney).
The World Champion All Blacks played their first match since winning the Rugby World Cup over France in October, and defeated Ireland 3-0 despite the visitors threatening an upset in the second test ((42-10 Auckland, 22-19 Christchurch, 60-0 Hamilton).
The Springboks hosted Englandand won 2-0 (22-17 Durban, 36-27 Johannesburg, 14-14 Port Elizabeth).
The Pumas hosted Italy andFrance, and won two of their three tests 2-1 (37-22 San Juan v Italy, 23-20 v France in Cordoba, 49-10 v France in Tucuman).
While there were some close results, Peters said the results during the June series underlined how tough The Rugby Championship will be.
“With a 10-2 ledger with one draw between South and North over the three-week period, the standing of The Rugby Championship teams was further confirmed, and the winner of the inaugural tournament will certainly have to fight to earn the coveted trophy.”
To view the 16-year Tri-Nations wrap of the Wallabies:
To view the 16-year Tri-Nations wrap of the All Blacks:
To view the 16-year Tri-Nations wrap of the Springboks
New Zealand matches
Saturday 25 August
All Blacks v Australia, 7.35pm
Eden Park, Auckland
Get your tickets from ticketmaster - 0800 111 999
Saturday 8 September
All Blacks v Argentina, 7.35pm
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Get your tickets from ticketek-0800 842 538
Saturday 15 September
All Blacks v South Africa,7.35pm
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Get your tickets from ticket direct - 0800 224 224