The Tri-Nations championship is held annually between the three main rugby nations in the southern hemisphere, namely Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The TriNations is administered by SANZAR - a co-operative venture between the South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby unions.
The Tri-Nations came into being hand-in-hand with professionalism in 1996. The new competition derived from the multi-million pound negotiations that the South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby Unions (SANZAR) made with Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp television company during the four-weeks duration of the 1995 World Cup.
A ten-year deal worth £360 million to the SANZAR nations was announced on the eve of the 1995 final and the competition, which features the three nations in a round-robin of home and away fixtures.
The first ever Tri-Nations tournament and was won by New Zealand. The first match of the tournament saw New Zealand run out 43 - 6 winners over Australia. They were undefeated in the 1996 Tri-Nations.
New Zealand also won the Cup in 1997, with South Africa claiming the title in 1998. The All Blacks lifted the Cup again in 1999. A year later in 2000 Australia raised the Cup for the first time thanks to a Stirling Mortlock penalty goal on the bell against South Africa in Durban. Australia retained the Tri Nations Trophy in 2001 when Toutai Kefu scored the match-winning try in the dying seconds against the All Blacks at Stadium Australia.
In 2002 the All Blacks won the Tri Nations Cup winning three out of their four matches and they again dominated the series in 2003 with a convincing four out of four victories.
In 2004, after a very close series where all three teams were undefeated on home soil, South Africa emerged victorious securing more bonus points than the other two teams.
In 2005 New Zealand won the tournament again and then again in 2006 even more convincingly without having to leave for the South African leg of the tournament. They lost their last match but it meant little as they had already been crowned champions.
In 2007 the tournament reverted back to each team playing each other twice but New Zealand again were the winners although they did stutter in Australia.
In 2008 South Africa were out to prove that they were worthy World Champions but the Wallabies beat South Africa twice and then the All Blacks beat them. The All Blacks claimed the title again.
In 2009 South Africa made up for the disappointment of 2008 by winning all but one of their games to claim the title.
In November 2007 the IRB held a conference on the future worldwide growth of the sport, with the status of Los Pumas a key topic of discussion. The most important decision made at the conference, with regard to the Tri Nations, was the agreement of the UAR to establish a professional rugby structure between 2008 and 2012, at which time Argentina would be "fully integrated into the Southern top-flight Rugby playing structure." At the time of the IRB conference, the UAR had already scheduled a special meeting for 28 December 2007 to amend its constitution to allow players to be paid. Shortly after the IRB conference, New Zealand Rugby Union deputy chief executive Steve Tew expressed doubts that, within ten years, a professional domestic competition in Argentina would be sufficiently viable to retain elite players in South America despite all the good intentions and funding of the IRB. The aforementioned UAR meeting did not result in the formation of a professional league. The 23 provincial delegates voted unanimously to keep their domestic league amateur, but approved a plan to centrally contract the Pumas selection pool to the UAR as professionals.
 Argentina's invitation is the culmination of an IRB-led process that kicked off in November 2007 with the historic Woking Accord where the Game's major stakeholders agreed that a transition programme for Argentina's full integration into the senior international playing calendar was a key priority.
It is proposed that Argentina, bronze medallists at Rugby World Cup 2007, will join Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to create a new Four Nations tournament. The proposed format will see the four teams playing on a home and away basis meaning six matches per team and a total of 12 matches overall. The Four Nations would be played from mid-August (following the end of the new Super Rugby competition) for an eight or nine week period through until early to mid-October. In a Rugby World Cup year an abbreviated format would be played through July and August.
"This is an exciting step for SANZAR and for world rugby, as it confirms Argentina's participation in a top-flight rugby competition, which they thoroughly deserve, and will add a dynamic new element to the current Tri Nations, which is already regarded as one of the world's toughest tournaments," said SANZAR and New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew.
"We now need to finalise a participation agreement with the UAR so we can move to full planning for the introduction of Argentina in 2012," he said.
In February 2009 , the UAR announced that under a plan supervised and financed by the IRB, it had contracted 31 local players, who will each receive 2,300 Argentine pesos (USD 655/GBP 452) per month. The eventual goal is for these players to form the core of a future Pumas selection pool.
In September 2009, Argentina were "conditionally" invited to join the Tri-Nations by SANZAR, the organising body representing South Africa, New Zealand and Australia that runs the tournament. The Pumas to join the SANZAR competition from 2012 subject to several conditions.
SANZAR stressed that conditions are attached to the invitation for the Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) to join the Four Nations in 2012. They are focused around:
- Argentina securing the participation of their best players to play in the Four Nations. To assist with this the National Unions of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are very keen to actively work with Argentina to place their best players across Super Rugby teams in the three countries;
- SANZAR and Argentina confirming the financial model that will apply.
These conditions have since been resolved.
SANZAR also confirmed that the three SANZAR Unions and their Super Rugby teams will work with the UAR to look at providing greater opportunities for Argentinean players to play in Super Rugby teams as part of the lead-up to the new Four Nations.
March 16th - International Rugby Board (IRB) president Bernard Lapasset is backing Argentina's integration into the Tri-Nations tournament by 2012. The IRB confirmed that it would match SANZAR and provide a significant investment of US$2.5m per annum from 2012 to 2015.
"A number of problems arise with the integration of Argentina into this competition," Lapasset said in an interview with AFP on16th March 2010.
"I consider it the duty of the IRB to see how we can contribute to the growth of this competition and support the financial efforts of Argentina and SANZAR.
 The IRB announced that it will provide a crucial US$10 million funding package to support the programme.
The package, ratified by the IRB Executive Committee, will see the Game's governing body substantially underwrite the Pumas entry into the southern hemisphere's showcase international Rugby competition with an unprecedented investment of US$2.5 million per year over the period 2012-2015 subject to SANZAR conditions being met.
The IRB's contribution is in addition to the multi-million dollar investment being made by SANZAR to facilitate the inclusion of Argentina in the Tri Nations. The IRB will work with SANZAR and the Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) to develop a framework that will drive the delivery of appropriate measures to ensure that other key elements of Argentina's conditional invitation are met.
May 12th -  Argentina has moved a step closer to competing in an expanded Four Nations competition after the IRB Council today approved measures to assist with the release of the Pumas' top players for the southern hemisphere's showcase competition.
The decision to adjust IRB Regulation 9 which governs the release of players for international duty assists in facilitating the admission of the best Argentinean players into the competition from 2012 and concludes a collaborative process that began with the Woking Forum in November 2007 and has seen the global Rugby community unite behind the cause.
"Today's announcement represents an historic milestone in the process of Argentina's integration into an expanded Tri Nations tournament and is an extremely exciting development for the Unión Argentina de Rugby and Rugby around the world," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"At the Woking Forum in 2007 the global Rugby community made a commitment to prioritise finding an appropriate solution for Argentina's integration into an annual tournament structure."
"This Regulatory amendment, coupled with the significant financial assistance of the IRB and SANZAR, represents the global Rugby community's support of this important programme and I would like to thank all parties and in particular SANZAR for their dedication to making Argentina's Four Nations dream a reality. We will continue to work in close collaboration with all stakeholders to make Argentina's transition as smooth as possible," added Lapasset.
There is no change to the existing Global, Hemisphere and Designated Events Release Periods and the overall limit on the numbers of Test matches covered under Regulation 9 remains the same. A new Four Nations Release Period to reflect the timeframe when the competition will be held (late August to early October) has been approved.
In order to accommodate players who will cross hemispheres to participate in the Four Nations and Six Nations competitions, the IRB Council approved a new Cross Hemisphere Player Release provision. This will enable players from the participating Unions concerned to benefit from release in the fallow weeks of the respective competitions, recognising player welfare and practical considerations.
In September 2009 SANZAR issued a conditional invitation to the Pumas in an expanded Four Nations competition from 2012. Another key condition was met when the IRB announced in March 2010 that it would provide an initial US$10 million funding package to support the transition programme to substantially underwrite the Pumas' entry into an expanded competition up to 2015. The contribution is in addition to the substantial multi-million dollar investment being made by SANZAR to facilitate the inclusion of Argentina in the Four Nations.
The IRB currently annually invests close to US$2 million in development and high performance programmes in Argentina. This significant investment helps fund the highly successful new national High Performance Academy, the Argentina Jaguars representative team and the national Under 20s and Sevens programmes, all of which underpin the future competiveness of the Pumas in the Four Nations and Rugby World Cup.
The changes to Regulation 9 will be communicated to all relevant stakeholders and will come into effect from June 1, 2012. SANZAR will now work with the UAR to finalise a participation agreement in order to move to full planning for the Pumas' introduction.
About IRB Regulation 9
Northern Hemisphere release period (no change)
- 5 matches
- 5 weekends during a 7 week period
Southern Hemisphere release period (no change)
- 6 matches
- 6 weekends during a 9 week period
June Global Release Period (no change)
- 3 matches
- 3 weekends
November Global Release Period (no change)
- 3 matches
- 3 weekends
Designated Release Period (no change)
- RWC Qualifying
- Olympic Games
- Olympic Games Qualifying
New Four Nations Release Period
- late August to early October
- 6 matches
- 6 weekends during an 8 week period
New Cross Hemisphere Player Release
- Opposite hemisphere players will be released for fallow weeks
- Applies to Northern Hemisphere Release Period (7 weeks)
- Applies to Four Nations Release Period (8 weeks)
May 12th, 2010 - SANZAR welcomed the decision of the IRB Council to change the player availability regulation, marking a major step towards Argentina's national team, Los Pumas, participating in a new SANZAR Four Nations competition from 2012. The decision by the IRB Council to alter IRB Regulation 9 which governs the release of players for international duty, greatly assists in meeting the condition set by SANZAR that Argentina was required to secure the availability of its best players to participate in the Four Nations tournament. The change will ensure that the release period for the new Four Nations (currently Tri Nations) aligns with the new dates for the competition from late August through until early October.
|2011||Australia||New Zealand||South Africa||4||3||0||1||92||79||(+) 13||1||13|
|2010||New Zealand||Australia||South Africa||6||6||0||0||184||111||(+) 73||3||27|
|2009||South Africa||New Zealand||Australia||6||5||0||1||158||130||(+) 28||1||21|
|2008||New Zealand||Australia||South Africa||6||4||0||2||152||106||(+) 46||3||19|
|2007||New Zealand||Australia||South Africa||4||3||0||1||100||59||(+) 41||1||13|
|2006||New Zealand||Australia||South Africa||6||5||0||1||179||112||(+) 67||3||23|
|2005||New Zealand||South Africa||Australia||4||3||0||1||111||86||(+) 25||3||15|
|2004||South Africa||Australia||New Zealand||4||2||0||2||110||98||(+) 12||3||11|
|2003||New Zealand||Australia||South Africa||4||4||0||0||142||65||(+) 77||2||18|
|2002||New Zealand||Australia||South Africa||4||3||0||1||97||65||(+) 32||3||15|
|2001||Australia||New Zealand||South Africa||4||2||1||1||81||75||(+) 6||1||11|
|2000||Australia||New Zealand||South Africa||4||3||0||1||104||86||(+) 18||2||14|
|1999||New Zealand||Australia||South Africa||4||3||0||1||103||61||(+) 42||0||12|
|1998||South Africa||Australia||New Zealand||4||4||0||0||80||54||(+) 26||1||17|
|1997||New Zealand||South Africa||Australia||4||4||0||0||159||109||(+) 50||2||18|
|1996||New Zealand||South Africa||Australia||4||4||0||0||119||60||(+) 59||1||17|
Date Teams Results Venue 27 Aug 2011 Australia v New Zealand 25 - 20 Brisbane, Aus 20 Aug 2011 South Africa v New Zealand 18 - 05 Port Elizabeth 13 Aug 2011 South Africa v Australia 09 - 14 Durban, SA 06 Aug 2011 New Zealand v Australia 30 - 14 Auckland, NZ 30 Jul 2011 New Zealand v South Africa 40 - 07 Wellington, NZ 23 Jul 2011 Australia v South Africa 39 - 20 Sydney, Aus 11 Sep 2010 Australia v New Zealand 22 - 23 Sydney, Aus 04 Sep 2010 South Africa v Australia 39 - 41 Bloemfontein, SA 28 Aug 2010 South Africa v Australia 44 - 31 Pretoria, SA 21 Aug 2010 South Africa v New Zealand 22 - 29 Johannesburg, SA 07 Aug 2010 New Zealand v Australia 20 - 10 Christchurch, NZ 31 Jul 2010 Australia v New Zealand 28 - 49 Melbourne, Aus 24 Jul 2010 Australia v South Africa 30 - 13 Brisbane, Aus 17 Jul 2010 New Zealand v South Africa 31 - 17 Wellington, NZ 10 Jul 2010 New Zealand v South Africa 32 - 12 Auckland, NZ 19 Sep 2009 New Zealand v Australia 33 -06 Wellington, NZ 12 Sep 2009 New Zealand v South Africa 29 - 32 Hamilton, NZ 05 Sep 2009 Australia v South Africa 21 - 06 Brisbane, Aus 29 Aug 2009 Australia v South Africa 25 - 32 Perth, Aus 22 Aug 2009 Australia v New Zealand 18 - 19 Sydney, Aus 08 Aug 2009 South Africa v Australia 29 - 17 Cape Town, SA 01 Aug 2009 South Africa v New Zealand 31 - 19 Durban, SA 25 Jul 2009 South Africa v New Zealand 28 - 19 Bloemfontein (Free State) , SA 18 Jul 2009 New Zealand v Australia 22 - 16 Auckland, NZ 13 Sep 2008 Australia v New Zealand 24 - 28 Brisbane, Aus 30 Aug 2008 South Africa v Australia 53 - 08 Johannesburg, SA 23 Aug 2008 South Africa v Australia 15 - 27 Durban, SA 16 Aug 2008 South Africa v New Zealand 00 - 19 Cape Town, SA 02 Aug 2008 New Zealand v Australia 39 - 10 Auckland, NZ 26 Jul 2008 Australia v New Zealand 34 - 19 Sydney, Aus 19 Jul 2008 Australia v South Africa 16 - 09 Perth, Aus 12 Jul 2008 New Zealand v South Africa 28 - 30 Dunedin, NZ 05 Jul 2008 New Zealand v South Africa 19 - 08 Wellington, NZ 21 Jul 2007 New Zealand v Australia 26 - 12 Auckland (Eden Park) 14 Jul 2007 New Zealand v South Africa 33 - 06 Christchurch (Jade Stadium) 07 Jul 2007 Australia v South Africa 25 - 17 Sydney (Telstra Stadium) 30 Jun 2007 Australia v New Zealand 20 - 15 Melbourne McG 23 Jun 2007 South Africa v New Zealand 21 - 26 Durban (ABSA Stadium) 16 Jun 2007 South Africa v Australia 22 - 19 Cape Town (Newlands Stadium) 09 Sep 2006 South Africa v Australia 24 - 16 Johannesburg (Ellis Park) 02 Sep 2006 South Africa v New Zealand 21 - 20 Rustenburg (Royal Bafokeng) 26 Aug 2006 South Africa v New Zealand 26 - 45 Pretoria (Loftus Versfeld) 19 Aug 2006 New Zealand v Australia 34 - 27 Auckland (Eden Park) 05 Aug 2006 Australia v South Africa 20 - 18 Sydney (Telstra Stadium) 29 Jul 2006 Australia v New Zealand 09 - 13 Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium) 22 Jul 2006 New Zealand v South Africa 35 - 17 Wellington (Westpac Stadium ) 15 Jul 2006 Australia v South Africa 49 - 00 Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium) 08 Jul 2006 New Zealand v Australia 32 - 12 Christchurch (Jade Stadium) 03 Sep 2005 New Zealand v Australia 34 - 24 Auckland (Eden Park) 27 Aug 2005 New Zealand v South Africa 31 - 27 Dunedin (Carisbrook) 20 Aug 2005 South Africa v Australia 22 - 19 Perth (Subiaco Oval) 13 Aug 2005 Australia v New Zealand 13 - 30 Sydney (Telstra Stadium) 06 Aug 2005 South Africa v New Zealand 22 - 16 Cape Town (Newlands Stadium) 30 July 2005 South Africa v Australia 22 - 16 Pretoria (Securicor Loftus Stadium) 21 Aug 2004 South Africa v Australia 23 - 19 Durban (ABSA Stadium) 14 Aug 2004 South Africa v New Zealand 40 - 26 Johannesburg (Ellis Park) 7 Aug 2004 Australia v New Zealand 23 - 18 Sydney (Telstra Stadium) 31 Jul 2004 Australia v South Africa 30 - 26 Perth (Subiaco Oval) 24 Jul 2004 New Zealand v South Africa 23 - 21 Christchurch (Jade Stadium) 17 Jul 2004 New Zealand v Australia 16 - 07 Wellington (Westpac Stadium) 16 Aug 2003 New Zealand vs Australia 21 - 17 Auckland (Eden Pk) 09 Aug 2003 New Zealand vs South Africa 19 - 11 Dunedin (Carisbrook) 02 Aug 2003 Australia vs South Africa 29 - 09 Brisbane (Lang Pk) 26 Jul 2003 Australia vs New Zealand 21 - 50 Sydney (Stadium Australia) 19 Jul 2003 South Africa vs New Zealand 16 - 52 Pretoria 12 Jul 2003 South Africa vs Australia 26 - 22 Cape Town 17 Aug 2002 South Africa vs Australia 33 - 31 Johannesburg (Ellis Pk) 10 Aug 2002 South Africa vs New Zealand 23 - 30 Durban (King's Pk) 03 Aug 2002 Australia vs New Zealand 16 - 14 Sydney (Stadium Australia) 27 Jul 2002 Australia vs South Africa 38 - 27 Brisbane (Wooloongabba) 20 Jul 2002 New Zealand vs South Africa 41 - 20 Wellington (Westpac Trust) 13 Jul 2002 New Zealand vs Australia 12 - 06 Christchurch 01 Sep 2001 Australia vs New Zealand 29 - 26 Sydney (Stadium Australia) 25 Aug 2001 New Zealand vs South Africa 26 - 15 Auckland (Eden Pk) 18 Aug 2001 Australia vs South Africa 14 - 14 Perth(AU)(Subiaco Oval) 11 Aug 2001 New Zealand vs Australia 15 - 23 Dunedin (Carisbrook) 28 Jul 2001 South Africa vs Australia 20 - 15 Pretoria 21 Jul 2001 South Africa vs New Zealand 03 - 12 Cape Town 26 Aug 2000 South Africa vs Australia 18 - 19 Durban (King's Pk) 19 Aug 2000 South Africa vs New Zealand 46 - 40 Johannesburg (Ellis Pk) 05 Aug 2000 New Zealand vs Australia 23 - 24 Wellington (Westpac Trust) 29 Jul 2000 Australia vs South Africa 26 - 06 Sydney (Stadium Australia) 22 Jul 2000 New Zealand vs South Africa 25 - 12 Christchurch 15 Jul 2000 Australia vs New Zealand 35 - 39 Sydney (Stadium Australia) 28 Aug 1999 Australia vs New Zealand 28 - 07 Sydney (Stadium Australia) 14 Aug 1999 South Africa vs Australia 10 -09 Cape Town 07 Aug 1999 South Africa vs New Zealand 18 - 34 Pretoria 24 Jul 1999 New Zealand vs Australia 34 - 15 Auckland (Eden Pk) 17 Jul 1999 Australia vs South Africa 32 - 06 Brisbane (Lang Pk) 10 Jul 1999 New Zealand vs South Africa 28 - 00 Dunedin (Carisbrook) 22 Aug 1998 South Africa vs Australia 29 - 15 Johannesburg (Ellis Pk) 15 Aug 1998 South Africa vs New Zealand 24 - 23 Durban (King's Pk) 01 Aug 1998 New Zealand vs Australia 23 - 27 Christchurch 25 Jul 1998 New Zealand vs South Africa 03 - 13 Wellington (Athletic Park) 18 Jul 1998 Australia vs South Africa 13 - 14 Perth(AU)(Subiaco Oval) 11 Jul 1998 Australia vs New Zealand 24 - 16 Melbourne (Cricket Ground) 23 Aug 1997 South Africa vs Australia 61 - 22 Pretoria 16 Aug 1997 New Zealand vs Australia 36 - 24 Dunedin (Carisbrook) 09 Aug 1997 New Zealand vs South Africa 55 - 35 Auckland (Eden Pk) 02 Aug 1997 Australia vs South Africa 32 - 20 Brisbane (Lang Pk) 26 Jul 1997 Australia vs New Zealand 18 - 33 Melbourne (Cricket Ground) 19 Jul 1997 South Africa vs New Zealand 32 - 35 Johannesburg (Ellis Pk) 10 Aug 1996 South Africa vs New Zealand 18 - 29 Cape Town 03 Aug 1996 South Africa vs Australia 25 - 19 Bloemfontein (Free State) 27 Jul 1996 Australia vs New Zealand 25 - 32 Brisbane (Lang Pk) 20 Jul 1996 New Zealand vs South Africa 15 - 11 Christchurch 13 Jul 1996 Australia vs South Africa 21 - 16 Sydney (Football Stadium) 06 Jul 1996 New Zealand vs Australia 43 - 06 Wellington (Athletic Park)
1. irb.com IRB welcomes Argentina Four Nations Invite 14 Sept 2009
2. scrum.com Argentina invited to join the Tri-nations 14 Sept 2009
3. irb.com Argentina closer to joining Four Nations 12 May 2010
4. irb.com IRB announces 3N funding boost for Argentina 29 March 2010