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.