Five things we learned from the third round of men’s July internationals
All the main talking points uncovered on another dramatic weekend of test rugby.
With the July internationals now in the record books, it is only natural that anticipation builds for the Rugby Championship 2022.
In nine days the four-team tournament will return as Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa compete for the title.
This year’s Rugby Championship should also prove to be an important staging post for all four nations on the road to Rugby World Cup 2023.
Ahead of kick-off on 6 August, we give you the lowdown on what to expect from what should be a thrilling tournament.
The Rugby Championship is an annual international tournament contested by four teams, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
It was first contested in 1996, when Australia, New Zealand and South Africa competed in the competition that was then known as the Tri Nations.
The All Blacks won the inaugural Tri Nations title, beating both the Wallabies and the Springboks home and away.
Argentina were added to the competition in 2012 and the Rugby Championship has been a four-team tournament ever since.
However, South Africa were unable to compete in the 2020 edition due to the impact of the pandemic, meaning Argentina, Australia and New Zealand contested a three-team competition that year.
The All Blacks have dominated the tournament ever since their clean sweep in the first Tri Nations 26 years ago.
Of the 26 Tri Nations and Rugby Championships that have been contested to date, New Zealand have won 18, including the previous two.
New Zealand won four Tri Nations titles in a row between 2005-08, while they have twice claimed three successive Rugby Championship crowns (between 2012-14 and 2016-18).
South Africa won the first of their four titles in 1998, although they have only finished top of the standings once since it became the Rugby Championship in 2012.
It took until 2000 for the Wallabies to win the title for the first time. They won it again the following year and have claimed four crowns in total. Like the Springboks, Australia have only won the title once since the admission of Argentina.
Los Pumas are yet to win the Rugby Championship, having finished bottom of all but one of the editions in which they have competed.
This year’s Rugby Championship kicks off on 6 August when South Africa host New Zealand at Mbombela Stadium. Argentina are then scheduled to host Australia in Mendoza.
Due to the restructuring of the tournament format, those fixtures will be replicated seven days later when the Springboks take on the All Blacks in Johannesburg and Wallabies face Los Pumas in San Juan.
Following a fallow week, the Springboks head to Adelaide to play Australia, while Argentina are due to meet the All Blacks in Christchurch on the same day.
Again, those fixtures are replicated on 3 September when New Zealand host Argentina in Hamilton before the Wallabies host the Springboks in Sydney.
Round five will get under way on Thursday, 15 September when the All Blacks take on the Wallabies at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne. Two days later the action switches to Buenos Aires, where Argentina host South Africa.
In the final round, those fixtures are reversed as New Zealand host Australia at Eden Park before the 2022 Rugby Championship draws to a close in Durban where South Africa face Argentina.
Yes, each team has announced a squad for the opening two rounds of The Rugby Championship on 6 and 13 August.
Matias Alemanno (Gloucester), Rodrigo Bruni (Brive), Agustin Creevy (London Irish), Thomas Gallo (Benetton Treviso), Francisco Gomez Kodela (Lyon OU), Juan Martin Gonzalez (London Irish), Santiago Grondona (Exeter Chiefs), Facundo Isa (Toulon), Marcos Kremer (Stade Francais), Tomas Lavanini (Clermont Auvergne), Pablo Matera (unattached), Julian Montoya (Leicester Tigers), Santiago Medrano (Worcester Warriors), Joaquin Oviedo (Perpignan), Lucas Paulos (Brive), Ignacio Ruiz (Jaguares XV), Joel Sclavi (La Rochelle), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (Benetton Treviso), Mayco Vivas (Jaguares XV), Lautaro Bazan Velez (Rovigo), Gonzalo Bertranou (Dragons), Emiliano Boffelli (Edinburgh), Santiago Carreras (Gloucester), Lucio Cinti (London Irish), Santiago Cordero (Bordeaux Begles), Tomas Cubelli (Biarritz), Jeronimo de la Fuente (Perpignan), Juan Imhoff (Racing 92), Juan Cruz Mallía (Toulouse), Lucas Mensa (Mont-de-Marsan), Matias Moroni (Leicester Tigers), Matias Orlando (Newcastle Falcons), Nicolas Sanchez (Stade Francais), Benjamin Urdapilleta (Castres)
Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies), Rory Arnold (TBC), Jock Campbell (Queensland Reds), Quade Cooper (Kintetsu Liners), Pone Fa'amausili (Melbourne Rebels), Folau Fainga'a (Brumbies), Lalakai Foketi (Waratahs), Nick Frost (Brumbies), Matt Gibbon (Melbourne Rebels), Jake Gordon (NSW Waratahs), Reece Hodge (Melbourne Rebels), Michael Hooper (c) (NSW Waratahs), Jed Holloway (NSW Waratahs), Len Ikitau (Brumbies), Marika Koroibete (Saitama Wild Knights), Rob Leota (Melbourne Rebels), Noah Lolesio (Brumbies), Lachlan Lonergan (Brumbies), Tate McDermott (Queensland Reds), Fraser McReight (Queensland Reds), James O’Connor (Queensland Reds), Hunter Paisami (Queensland Reds), Jordan Petaia (Queensland Reds), Matt Philip (Melbourne Rebels), David Porecki (NSW Waratahs), Tom Robertson (Western Force), Pete Samu (Brumbies), Irae Simone (Brumbies), James Slipper (Brumbies), Darcy Swain (Brumbies), Taniela Tupou (Queensland Reds), Rob Valetini (Brumbies), Suliasi Vunivalu (Queensland Reds), Nic White (Brumbies), Harry Wilson (Queensland Reds), Tom Wright (Brumbies)
Dane Coles (Hurricanes), Samisoni Taukeiaho (Chiefs), Codie Taylor (Crusaders), Aidan Ross (Chiefs), George Bower (Crusaders), Nepo Laulala (Blues), Ethan de Groot (Highlanders), Fletcher Newell (Crusaders), Angus Ta’avao (Chiefs), Scott Barrett (Crusaders), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), Tupou Vaa’i (Chiefs), Samuel Whitelock (Crusaders), Sam Cane (Captain – Chiefs), Shannon Frizell (Highlanders), Akira Ioane (Blues), Dalton Papalii (Blues), Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), Hoskins Sotutu (Blues), Finlay Christie (Blues), Folau Fakatava (Highlanders), Aaron Smith (Highlanders), Beauden Barrett (Blues), Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders), Stephen Perofeta (Blues), Jack Goodhue (Crusaders), David Havili (Crusaders), Rieko Ioane (Blues), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Blues), Quinn Tupaea (Chiefs), Jordie Barrett (Hurricanes), Caleb Clarke (Blues), Leicester Fainga’anuku (Crusaders), Will Jordan (Crusaders), Sevu Reece (Crusaders)
Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (Wasps), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Ntuthuko Mchunu (Cell C Sharks), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92), Joseph Dweba (DHL Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks), Lood de Jager (Wild Knights), Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks), Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers), Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Bulls), Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks), Elrigh Louw (Vodacom Bulls), Evan Roos (DHL Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers), Duane Vermeulen (Ulster), Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse), Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat), Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks), Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes), Handre Pollard (Leicester Tigers), Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Damian de Allende (Wild Knights), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Jesse Kriel (Cannon Eagles), Warrick Gelant (Racing 92), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers)
South Africa v New Zealand, Mbombela Stadium, 17:05 (GMT+2)
Argentina v Australia, Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, 16:05 (GMT-3)
South Africa v New Zealand, Ellis Park, 17:05 (GMT+2)
Argentina v Australia, Estadio del Bicentenario, 16:05 (GMT-3)
Australia v South Africa, Adelaide Oval, 15:00 (GMT+9.5)
New Zealand v Argentina, AMI Stadium, 19:45 (GMT+12)
New Zealand v Argentina, FMG Stadium, 19:05 (GMT+12)
Australia v South Africa, Allianz Stadium, 19:35 (GMT+10)
New Zealand v Australia, Marvel Stadium, 19:45 (GMT+10)
Argentina v South Africa, Velez Sarsfield Stadium, 21:10 (GMT-3)
New Zealand v Australia, Eden Park, 19:05 (GMT+12)
South Africa v Argentina, Kings Park, 17:05 (GMT+2)
Teams will earn four points for a win and two points for a draw during the 2022 Rugby Championship.
Bonus points are also on offer, should a team lose by seven points or fewer, or score three or more tries more than their opponents.
Yes. At the time of writing only seven places and 9.21 rating points separate the four teams in the rankings.
South Africa are currently top of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini, 0.89 rating points ahead of second-place New Zealand.
Following the first match of their series against England, Australia climbed into the top five while Argentina leapfrogged Scotland with victory against them.
With two more weekends of July internationals to go that picture may change before the Rugby Championship kicks off on 6 August.