The countdown begins...

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By SANZAR Media Unit

On 18 August 2012 Rugby history will have an exciting new chapter added with the first matches in the inaugural year of The Rugby Championship, the evolution of a Tri-Nations tournament that was first contested in 1996.
Over 16 years three nations that consistently remained in the top-three of the world, with combined six World Cups 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 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 have sought 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 and Italy 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 England and won 2-0 (22-17 Durban, 36-27 Johannesburg, 14-14 Port Elizabeth).
The Pumas hosted Italy and France, 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 ticketdirect - 0800 224 224

Australia matches
Saturday, 18 August, 2012
Qantas Wallabies v All Blacks
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Tickets on Sale from Tuesday 17 July
Saturday, 8 September, 2012
Qantas Wallabies v Springboks
Patersons Stadium, Perth,
Tickets on Sale from Tuesday 7 August
Saturday, 15 September, 2012
Qantas Wallabies v Argentina
Skilled Park, Gold Coast,
Tickets on Sale from Tuesday 7 August

Argentina matches
(Please note the following links are in Spanish)
To access ticketing information go to:
25 August, 2012
Argentina v South Africa
Estadio Malvinas, Mendoza
To access ticketing go to:
29 September, 2012
Argentina v New Zealand
Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata
6 October, 2012
Argentina v Australia
Stadio Gigante de arroyito, Rosario
To access ticketing go to:

South Africa matches
18 August 2012,
Springboks v Argentina
Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
To access ticketing go to:
29 September 2012,
Springboks v Wallabies
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
To access ticketing go to:
6 October 2012,
Springboks v All Blacks
FNB Stadium, Soweto
To access ticketing go to: