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The Rugby Championship among the four southern nations commences this week when Australia host New Zealand, and South Africa welcome Argentina. The teams play each other home and way annually in the series.
The rivalry between the Wallabies and the All Blacks, always intense, has taken on a new wrinkle as the Aussies await the final, legal outcome of a bugging attempt by an All Blacks’ Security Guard at the Australian’s hotel.
The match will be played at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney with a capacity of 83,500. The All Blacks have won the last four games against Australia, dating back to June 2016. Since winning the 2015 Rugby World Cup (Final: NZ 34-Australia 17), the Kiwis have gone 15-2-1, the losses coming against Ireland in Chicago, and the Lions this summer. Only England, with a 19-1 record after the 2015 RWC, have exceeded the All Blacks’ total Test wins and winning percentage.
The Wallabies fared poorly after the 2015 RWC, achieving a below, breakeven record of 8-11, which included a five-game losing streak. Notably, England on tour Down Under, beat the Aussies in the three game Test, the first sweep ever in the long history of these nations.
The Springboks will play Los Pumas in Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth (46,000 seating). South Africa are also below .500 since the 2015 RWC, standing at 7-11, with three wins coming at home against France on tour. RSA and Argentina split games last year, RSA winning 30-24 at home, and Argentina winning 26-24, also at home. Los Pumas went 7-8 after the last World Cup.