End of an era: Tri-Nations by Ancia Potgieter (@Ancia08)
Australia, as the current holders of the Tri-Nations trophy, will get to keep it in the cupboard, forever. The reason being, that as from this year, we have the newly formed “Rugby Championship” which means the following teams compete for the brand spanking new trophy: Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Looking back over the years since it’s inception in 1996, the Tri-Nation series was well known for it’s intensity as the competing teams (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) were consistently ranked amongst the top teams on the IRB rankings.
The All Blacks dominated the series from 1996 until South Africa turned the tables on them in 1998. 1999 saw New Zealand once again returning to the winning formula, but in 2000 Australia managed to win it for the first time.
Australia continued their reign as champions, successfully defending the trophy in 2001. Their run came to an end in 2002 when the All Blacks once again managed to snatch the trophy away from the rest of the field. They managed to retain the trophy in 2003, before South Africa managed to win it again in 2004.
In 2005, New Zealand returned to their match-winning ways, and that lasted until 2008. 2009 saw South Africa turning the tables and 2010 New Zealand managed to dominate over the entire series, winning the tournament with 2 games to spare. 2011 saw Australia lift the title for the very last time.
The format for the Rugby Championship will remain the same as for the Tri-Nations with teams playing both home and away games in a double round robin round.
In addition to the Rugby Championship trophy, the winner of games played between Australia and New Zealand also go toward determining the winner of the Bledisloe Cup each year. Similarly, the Freedom Cup is contested between New Zealand and South Africa, and the Mandela Challenge Plate between Australia and South Africa.
Currently the following records stands (as at the end of the 2011 Tri-Nations tournament), these records will be carried forward into the Rugby Championship competition:
462 – Dan Carter (NZL)
16 – Christian Cullen (NZL)
Most points in a match:
31 – Morne Steyn (RSA)
Most tries in a match:
4 – Jongi Nokwe (RSA)
48 – George Gregan (AUS)
The Tri-Nations titles are currently held as follows:
10 – New Zealand
3 – South Africa
3 – Australia