Wellington - The All Blacks and Wallabies will contest the Bledisloe Cup over three Tests under a revamped format to take effect in 2012, the New Zealand and Australian rugby unions announced Saturday.
The new arrangement replaces the present system where the Cup, the symbol of trans-Tasman rugby supremacy, is contested as part of the Tri-Nations tournament which also involves South Africa.
From next year, the third and possibly deciding match will be hosted alternately between the two countries, following their home and away clashes in the Tri-Nations.
The first additional Bledisloe Cup Test will be hosted by Australia in October 2012 and there are no plans to take it to a neutral venue as has happened in recent years.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said the additional Test was part of a new All Blacks schedule which includes three Tests in June, the expanded Tri-Nations which takes in Argentina from 2012, and the end of year northern hemisphere tour.
"Our expectation, supported by feedback from our fans, is that a three-match Bledisloe Cup Series will be keenly followed and fits well into our season," Tew said.
Fan research in both Australia and New Zealand supported the Bledisloe Cup being contested over a three-match series, rather than two as it was for many years prior to the expansion of the Tri Nations, Tew added.