AUSTRALIA will defend their southern hemisphere title next year in an expanded competition called The Rugby Championship – and will meet new boys Argentina on the Gold Coast.
The new title of the expanded Tri Nations competition will be unveiled today after the Wallabies named their squad yesterday for an abbreviated spring tour later this month.
The Wallabies will play the Barbarians at Twickenham and Wales in Cardiff on a revenue-raising two-week trip, but already eyes have turned towards the exciting new winter competition from 2012 onwards featuring Australia and the top southern hemisphere sides.
Not keen to simply upgrade the Tri Nations to the Four or Quad Nations (league and rugby competitions already exist with both names) SANZAR bosses – and new boys Argentina – agreed upon the simple title of The Rugby Championship.
It will allow each nation to sell sponsorship rights that smoothly – or awkwardly, depending on your viewpoint – sit within the title. Castrol is the naming rights sponsor for The Rugby Championship.
ARU boss John O’Neill and SANZAR CEO Greg Peters will announce the competition name and draw today in Sydney.
All sides will play each other home and away for a total of six Test matches. The Wallabies’ first of three Bledisloe Cup clashes with world champions New Zealand will begin The Rugby Championship in Sydney.