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The current Rugby Championship series being played among the four southern hemisphere nations may be a prelude to the competitive rugby from these teams in the Rugby World Cup next year. Six of the eight contests have been decided by seven points or less with only New Zealand’s win over Australia at home 51-20 representing a true blowout.
Six of the past seven Rugby World Cups have been won by the All Blacks (2), Wallabies (2), and the Springboks (2). England’s 2003 win in Australia counts as the sole northern hemisphere victory.
Although New Zealand is 3-1-0 (The draw, a 12-12 tie away against Australia) remaining unbeaten, their tight 14-10 victory against South Africa indicated that the current RWC title holders can be defeated.
Argentina, playing in its third year of the Rugby Championship, has demonstrated it can hold its own against top tier nations. The Pumas surprised the rugby world by finishing third in 2007 RWC, beating France in Paris. The All Blacks will play Argentina in its RWC Pool in 2015.
Two more contests remain:
September 27: SA vs.Australia and Argentina vs. NZ
October 4 – SA vs.NZ and Argentina vs. Australia