James Mortimer 16.Sep.2012Getty Images
Some would say the All Blacks almost have the title in their grasp, but recent home matches for the number one ranked team in rugby have shown how competitive the Pumas and Springboks can be – even in New Zealand.
Mathematically the Wallabies could still win the inaugural crown for The Investec Rugby Championship, and again in theory defend their 2011 Tri-Nations win.
All Blacks number eight Kieran Read said that the team were already aware of the threat of the Pumas and Springboks in what will be a long travel schedule for the side.
"The South Africans and Argentinians will both grow an arm and a leg at home," he said.
"The Pumas are improving quickly and it's going to be a tough road trip for us we're going to have to be right on our game to match them.”
Some All Blacks may be released to their ITM Cup teams with the travel bye in effect for The Investec Rugby Championship next weekend, but for now coach Steve Hansen has said that ‘fun time’ will begin next Saturday.
"I've instructed them (the All Blacks squad) all to go away and forget about rugby and enjoy their families and their children (or) those who have got them,” Hansen said.
“We'll get back on the circus wheel on Saturday."
Otago plays North Harbour on Tuesday and Auckland play Taranaki on Wednesday in the 2012 ITM Cup.