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The addition of Argentina to the Tri Nations tournament has seen a relaunched competition announced today, known as ‘The Rugby Championship’.
The Pumas will now face the Wallabies, Springboks and All Blacks in regular international competition, with the Australian games to be played in Sydney, Gold Coast and Perth.
The home and away series will feature Argentina taking on the Wallabies at home at a yet to be confirmed venue – possibly at Vélez Sársfield in Buenos Aires or River Plate Stadium, both in Buenos Aires on October 6th, 2012 .
The last game between the two sides in Argentina was in 2002 at River Plate Stadium, Buenos Aires, where Australia won a 17-6 tussle.
The name allows individual naming rights to be sold, with the tournament known as The Castrol Edge Rugby Championship, while in New Zealand it will be known as The Investec Rugby Championship.
“The Rugby Championship will be the best of the best and represents the latest stage in the evolution of the game in the southern hemisphere,” said Australian Rugby Union Managing Director and CEO John O’Neill AO.
“The All Blacks are the No.1 side in the world, the Wallabies are No.2, the Springboks are No.4 and Argentina is No.7.
“This will be an exciting, enthralling, intense Championship of home and away matches between four heavyweight nations.
“They will play six matches each, three at home and three away, and the status of this event will be fitting of the moniker ‘The Rugby Championship’.
“On top of the announcement last week of the International against Scotland on 5 June, and the Welsh Tour which includes three Tests the same month, confirmation of The Rugby Championship adds further lustre to the 2012 program.
“It will be a magnificent season of international Rugby in Australia, with eight Tests domestically.
“We are also introducing two new Test venues in Ausgrid Stadium at Newcastle for the Scottish game and Skilled Park at the Gold Coast for the Argentina match.”
The first game of the new tournament will be the Wallabies against New Zealand in Sydney, which also counts as the first Bledisloe game of 2012.
“We have come a long way and to open The Rugby Championship with a Bledisloe Cup Test against our closest and most ferocious rivals – and to lock in that game against the All Blacks “same time, same place” for the next 10 years – is hugely exciting,” said Mr O’Neill.
“We will build a Bledisloe Cup Festival each year in the lead-up and sporting fans can put the weekend in their diaries as a consistent feature on the calendar.
“To kick off that decade of Sydney Bledisloe Cup Tests in the same year we launch The Rugby Championship is wonderful for the game.
The Rugby Championship – Full draw
Date Time Description Venue
18 Aug TBA Wallabies v All Blacks ANZ Stadium, Sydney
18 Aug TBA Springboks v Argentina Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
25 Aug TBA All Blacks v Wallabies Eden Park, Auckland
25 Aug TBA Argentina v Springboks TBA
8 Sep TBA Wallabies v Springboks Subiaco Oval, Perth
8 Sep TBA All Blacks v Argentina Westpac Stadium, Wellington
15 Sep TBA Wallabies v Argentina Skilled Park, Gold Coast
15 Sep TBA All Blacks v Springboks Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
29 Sep TBA Springboks v Wallabies Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
29 Sep TBA Argentina v All Blacks TBA
6 Oct TBA Springboks v All Blacks TBA
6 Oct TBA Argentina v Wallabies TBA