The Rugby Championship celebrates the best of rugby union in the southern hemisphere. The tournament is contested annually by Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia and it’s the southern hemisphere’s version of the Six Nations Championship.
Prior to Argentina joining the competition in 2012, the tournament was known as the Tri Nations. However, once Los Pumas joined, the competition became formally known as The Rugby Championship, which it has been ever since. However, in 2020, South Africa were unable to compete in the competition, so the rugby union championship was contested as the Tri Nations for one more year.
In 1996, the southern hemisphere’s rugby union championship was launched as a direct equivalent to the Five Nations Championship, which was contested in the northern hemisphere by England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France at the time.
The opening tournament of 1996 was contested by New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, with each nation playing each other home and away. However, New Zealand dominated and won every game they played. Although New Zealand won many of the early tournaments, most editions of the Tri Nations were hugely competitive and each nation had won the tournament at least once by 2000.
The success of the Tri Nations saw the tournament expand for the first time in 2006, when it was decided that each nation would play the others three times instead of twice. Then, in 2009, it was announced that Argentina would enter the competition in 2012. Until that point, Argentina had been the only tier one nation in the world that didn’t face regular international competition. Although the decision to admit Argentina to the competition was a source of conflict, their involvement in the Rugby Championship has undoubtedly enhanced the game.
Fast forward to the modern day and although New Zealand still dominate many Rugby Championship tournaments, the tournament is usually hotly contested by all of The Rugby Championship teams. To date, the All Blacks have won an impressive 17 championships, while Australia and South Africa have won four each. Argentina are yet to hold the title, however the team generally improves year on year.
Read on to learn more about the rugby union championship. Below, you’ll find much more information about the competition, including news about each of the Rugby Championship teams and all the latest Rugby Championship results.