It has now been close to 24 hours since I heard that the competition we currently know as the Tri-Nations was being rebranded to The Rugby Championship. When I first heard the name I was quite frankly, unimpressed! I thought it reeked of arrogance from SANZAR and also a bit of laziness, I mean surely they could have come up with something better right??
Now that I have had time to slowly digest the name and carefully thought about the reasons behind it, I will admit that I am warming to it. I think that by the time the competition actually commences in September next year, we will have forgotten what all the fuss was about.
I am glad that they didn’t go with 4-Nations or Quad Nations as some suggested, as this has been done before and Rugby League’s international competition is currently titled the 4-Nations. Plus this name makes it easier to sell to sponsors as the competition can be easily recognised by the brand, a win-win for the sponsor and hosting union. In Australia, the competition will be known as The Castrol Edge Championship, in South Africa as The Castle Rugby Championship and in New Zealand as The Investec Rugby Championship. Argentina are yet to announce their sponsor.
Interestingly my attention has now turned to the fact that the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has agreed for one of the games to be held at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast over Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane which has nearly double the capacity. For a union that is continually arguing they don’t earn enough money, this move baffles me. The game is against Argentina, which suggests that perhaps they don’t believe they could fill Suncorp. Or perhaps they believe that most of the Argentinian players will be back in Europe playing for their clubs in the Premiership or Top 14 instead of participating in The Rugby Championship.
On a brighter note, the one exciting thing that does come from this new format is that rugby will be on our screens from February right through till October, which means more rugby and less SRW (Severe Rugby Withdrawals)!
The Rugby Championship fixtures:
18 August 2012:
Australia vs New Zealand at ANZ Stadium, Sydney
South Africa vs Argentina – TBC
25 August 2012:
New Zealand vs Australia at Eden Park, Auckland
Argentina vs South Africa – TBC
1 September 2012:
8 September 2012:
Australia vs South Africa at Patersons Stadium, Perth
New Zealand vs Argentina at Westpac Stadium in Wellington
15 September 2012:
Australia vs Argentina at Skilled Park, Gold Coast
New Zealand vs South Africa at Forsyth Barr in Dunedin
22 September 2012:
29 September 2012:
South Africa vs Australia – TBC
Argentina vs New Zealand – TBC
6 October 2012:
South Africa vs New Zealand – TBC
Argentina vs Australia – TBC