The 2014 Rugby Championship

Formerly known as the Tri Nations, the Rugby Championship is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the Rugby Union calendar.
The Tri Nations began life in 1996 and became the Rugby Championship when Argentina joined the competition in 2012. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are the other three sides involved and it is the All Blacks who have dominated down the years.
Bookmaker Betfair already have odds available on this year’s Rugby Championship which gets under way on the 16th of August, with warm-up matches taking place from the end of this month. Betfair have put New Zealand in as their 4/9 market leaders for the tournament and they are likely to be popular with punters even at such prohibitive odds. South Africa rank as the second favourites at 3/1 while Australia can be backed at 5’s. Finally, Argentina appear to have no chance as far as the bookies are concerned, and anyone interested can help themselves to huge odds of 250/1 at betfair.com!
Having won the very first Tri Nation’s tournament in 1996, New Zealand have never really looked back. The All Blacks remained undefeated during that inaugural event and made it back-to-back Tri Nations titles with another impressive victory the following year.
Recent results under coach Steve Hansen have continued to be positive with a 3-0 test match victory over the English as recently as June. Having recently agreed to play an historic Test match in Samoa next year, New Zealand are likely to arrive in Sydney on August 16th in positive mood and should have a great chance of getting off to a winning start against the Australians.
Having said that, those two sides do have a huge rivalry, and the Aussies will not just roll over, especially in front of their home fans.
Betfair make the Australian Rugby Union team 5/1 chances to win the 2014 Rugby Championship, and I would say that price is a fairly accurately reflection of Ewen McKenzie’s side’s chance of success.
An opening match against New Zealand is probably not the fixture that McKenzie would have wished to open the tournament with, but a positive result would be huge in terms of them winning this competition for what would be the fourth time since 1996 but the very first since it became the Rugby Championship. Like the All Blacks, the Wallabies also had a recent 3-0 Test series win, theirs coming over France, and should be in positive mood for the first game of the tournament at the ANZ Stadium.
South Africa are the side most likely to cause New Zealand problems at the upcoming Rugby Championship according to Betfair, and it will be a huge shock if they are unable to put a big number and a victory over Argentina in Pretoria.
Playing the competition new boys and underdogs in their opening game arguably gives the Springboks an advantage over their key rivals New Zealand and Australia. Currently ranked as the second best side in the world by the International Rugby Board, South Africa will be keen to usurp New Zealand at the top of those rankings and taking the 2014 Rugby Championship would definitely help in that quest.
An Argentinian tournament victory would be arguably one of the biggest shocks in sporting history, and the side who joined the competition in 2012 will probably be happy to perform with credit during their home fixtures.
One thing is for sure, we are definitely in for some exciting rugby come August and punters can get all the betting coverage they need on the Rugby Championship at betfair.com.

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