So the “Rugby Championship” (in contrast to the cricket joke called the Vroteas) does have a sponsor. The fixture list is yet another Andy Marinos negotiated special however…
Okay so there is some good news. The tournament will be compressed into a simple home and away against each team fixture list instead of the ridiculous circulating nonsense we have now which sees us play two games against each other team alternating home and away.
The tournament is also paused with several “travel bye” weekends.
The biggest change however is that the tournie will see two games per weekend.
The Rugby Championship starts on 18 August 2012 and ends on 6 October 2011 which will see it start at the end of Super Rugby’s tournament and end as the Currie Cup ends.
This will mean shortened EOYT’s or maybe even the CC will move to a later time slot and finish late as the winter test window opens in Europe? A Global Season? It certainly looks like we’re heading that way.
So the way the tournament works will be
18 Aug – SA v Arg and NZ v Aus
25 Aug – NZ v Aus and Arg v SA
1 Sept – Travel bye
8 Sept – Aus v SA and NZ v Arg
15 Sept – Aus v Arg and NZ v SA
22 Sept – Travel bye
29 Sept – SA v Aus and Arg v NZ
6 Oct – SA v NZ and Arg v Aus
(home team first in each fixture). So for the Bokke we start at home v Arg, then travel to Argentina the following week, then a week off, then we meet the Nanny Staters, then travel BACKWARDS (well done Marinos) to meet NZ the following weekend before heading home to meet first Aus and then the baby Nanny Staters on consecutive weekends. For Argentina the fixture list starts them off in DSA moves them home, a week off, then they host NZ then off to Aus, then back home to host Aus and NZ on consecutive weekends. A far better deal than us.
At present the IRB internationals window for the Southern Hemisphere tests that allows Northern club players to be released does not extend the entire period of the Rugby Championship so it should be interesting to see how the IRB deals with release applications from SA and especially Argentina seeing as Aus and NZ still have a policy of not selecting non home based players and Argentina at the other end of the spectrum relies on its foreign legion in internationals.