The Rugby Championship (TRC) is one of the pre-eminent international rugby union competitions in world rugby. It is contested annually by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. It is owned and managed by SANZAAR.
SANZAAR is an incorporated Joint Venture between the four participating national unions and its head office is located in Sydney, Australia.
Prior to the 2012 tournament, when Argentina entered The Rugby Championship, it was known as the Tri Nations. The inaugural Tri Nations tournament was in 1996, and was won by New Zealand. South Africa won its first title in 1998, and Australia its first in 2000.
The new expanded TRC comprises a round robin format in which all the teams play each other home and away. The first Championship (2012) was won by New Zealand, who won all six of their matches. Australia won the 2015 TRC which was shortened due to the Rugby World Cup being played later in the year. The round robin format comprised the teams playing each other once home or away.
New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have frequently been ranked among the top rugby nations with the latter two teams winning the Rugby World Cup twice and New Zealand winning it three times.
Argentina has been ranked as high as third in the official World Rankings and has twice reached the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, a higher achievement than Italy, Scotland, and Ireland among the Six Nations teams.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 the Springboks were unable to participate in The Rugby Championship that was set to be hosted in Australia. In its place SANZAAR delivered a Tri-Nations tournament between Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
SANZAAR confirmed in June 2022 that the 12-match schedule for The Rugby Championship (TRC) would comprise an innovative 'mini-tour' format that is a departure from the previous home and away structure that has been in place since 2012 when Argentina joined Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to create The Rugby Championship.
Each team will still play six matches comprising three home matches and three away matches, and will play each team twice. However, each team will host a two-match tour, will play an away two-match tour and a one-match home and away series against the third team. For example, in 2022 New Zealand will host Argentina for two consecutive matches, will play two consecutive matches in South Africa and will play Australia once at home and once away. This format will see the two-match 'mini tour' home and away hosting rotate over a two-year period. Australia and New Zealand will always play a split home and away series, as will South Africa and Argentina.
The mini-tour concept is locked in until the end of 2025 and SANZAAR and the national unions believe this new format will excite fans by bringing back rugby's traditional touring values and make for an even more exciting Championship. The format will also reduce the travel component of TRC, therefore, alleviating player welfare concerns and the amount of travel teams have to undertake.
Points will be awarded in all TRC matches on the following basis:
|Loss||0 points for loss of more than 7 points|
|Bonus||1 point for 3 tries or more than opponent|
|Bonus||1 point for loss within 7 points or less|
Position on the competition table shall be determined by competition points as set out above:
- In the event of two or more teams being equal on competition points for any position on the competition table such position shall be determined by the team with the most wins in the series.
- In the event of (a) above not providing a decision, the position on the competition table will be determined by the team with the most wins against the other team/s tied on the same points.
- In the event of (b) above not providing a decision, the position on the competition table will be determined on the margin of points scored for and against in the series. The team with the highest margin of points scored for and against being considered as the winner.
- In the event of (c) above not providing a decision, the position on the competition table will be determined on the margin of points scored for and against by those competing teams. The team with the highest margin of points scored for and against being considered as the winner.
- In the event of (d) above not providing a decision, the position on the competition table will be determined on the basis of the team scoring most tries in the series.
- In the event of (e) above not providing a decision, the Series shall be shared between the two teams.
1996 New Zealand
1997 New Zealand
1998 South Africa
1999 New Zealand
2002 New Zealand
2003 New Zealand
2004 South Africa
2005 New Zealand
2006 New Zealand
2007 New Zealand
2008 New Zealand
2009 South Africa
2010 New Zealand
THE RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
2012 New Zealand
2013 New Zealand
2014 New Zealand
2016 New Zealand
2017 New Zealand
2018 New Zealand
2019 South Africa*
2020 New Zealand**
2021 New Zealand
(* Rugby World Cup Year - shortened format; ** Tri Nations tournament as South Africa did not compete due to pandemic)