The Rugby Championship is an international rugby union competition contested annually by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Prior to the 2012 tournament, when Argentina joined, it was known as the Tri Nations.
The inaugural Tri Nations tournament was in 1996, and was won by New Zealand. South Africa won their first title in 1998, and Australia their first in 2000. Following the last Tri Nations tournament in 2011, New Zealand had won ten championships, with South Africa and Australia on three titles each.
New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have frequently been ranked among the top rugby nations with the latter two teams winning the Rugby World Cuptwice and New Zealand winning it three times. Argentina have been ranked as high as third in the IRB World Rankings and have twice reached the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, a higher achievement than Italy and Ireland among the Six Nations teams.
The series is played on a home-and-away basis. From the first tournament in 1996 until 2005, the three teams played each other twice. Since then, each team has played the others three times, except in the Rugby World Cup years of 2007 and 2011 when the series reverted to a double round-robin. For 2015, to provide the teams longer preparation time ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, each side played the others’ teams only once each.