Previously the Tri-Nations Cup, with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, from 2012 Argentina was added to make a 4 team Southern Hemisphere competition.
The usual format was 6 rounds, with each team playing the other twice on a home and away basis. The winner is the top ranked team at the end of the competition.
The History of The Rugby Championship
The Rugby Championship is the latest format of what was the Tri-Nations Cup. This competition started in 1996 with the advent of professional rugby. There were 3 teams involved - New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
From 1996 until 2005 the format was for each team to play the other twice on a home and away basis.
In 2006 the format was changed to 3 matches against each other team.
In 2007, due to the Rugby World Cup, the Tri-Series reverted back to a 2 match home and away format again.
From 2008 to 2010 the format was again changed to each team playing the others 3 times.
In 2011, again due to the Rugby World Cup, the series was reduced to 2 matches, home and away.
In 2012, 2013 and 2014, with the addition of Argentina, 4 teams will play each other on a home and away basis again.
In 2015, with the Rugby World Cup due to be played, each team played the other teams once.
In 2016, the format reverted to 6 rounds, each team playing the other home and away. A change was also made to the bonus points system. Instead of a bonus point for four or more tries, a bonus point would be awarded for scoring 3 more tries than the opposition in a match. This format was retained for 2017 and 2018.
In 2019, with the Rugby World Cup due to be played, each team played the other teams once.
In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic meant a delayed competition and then South Africa pulled out, citing a lack of preparation time as they had only returned to playing in early October. This led to a 3 team competition in which each team played the other teams twice. It was based in Australia.