ABs set for Ellis Park return
Ellis Park Stadium (File)
Cape Town - The 2014 Rugby Championship kicks off on August 16 with a trans-Tasman showdown that could present New Zealand with an opportunity to add yet another honour to its already glittering record, while the Springboks are set to open their campaign agains the Pumas in Pretoria.
Should the All Blacks sweep England on home soil in June, a win against Australia at ANZ Stadium in Sydney would break the tier-one world record of 17 consecutive wins, currently shared by New Zealand (1965-69) and South Africa (1997-98).
The All Blacks’ streak stands at 14 after an unprecedented perfect season.
The Springboks came so close to unseating the defending champions in this year’s thrilling finale before succumbing 38-27 in front of a packed Ellis Park in what has been widely discussed as one of the best rugby matches in history.
The 2014 format remains consistent with previous years which means a repeat clash will once again take place in the final round at Johannesburg while the Wallabies visit Argentina later in the day to bring the Rugby Championship to a close.
SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said he is looking forward to watching the world’s best teams resume their ongoing rivalry in 2014.
“As New Zealand, Australia and South Africa end their European Tours as the world’s top three nations and with Argentina entrenched inside the top 10, The Rugby Championship continues to pit the best against the best.
“We couldn’t have hoped for a more thrilling culmination to this year’s edition of the Rugby Championship and 2014 promises to up the ante with the gap between champions and challengers narrowing with each contest.
“We look forward to delivering the Rugby Championship to a new market in New Zealand with Napier’s McLean Park scheduled to host New Zealand and Argentina while the Gold Coast returns to the Australian rotation with the Wallabies and Pumas scheduled to do battle at Skilled Park on September 13.”
McLean Park will become the 27th stadium overall and the eighth in New Zealand to host a match in
Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations history.
The 22 000-seat venue staged two matches as part of Rugby World Cup 2011 and will welcome the All Blacks for just the second time, the first being a 51-10 win over Samoa in 1996.
Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium will host the third Bledisloe Cup clash between Australia and New Zealand on October 18, which is not part of the Rugby Championship schedule.
Kick-off times will be confirmed in early 2014, as will venues for Argentina’s home matches which are still subject to UAR approval.Fixtures for the 2014 Rugby Championship:16 August:
Australia v New Zealand, ANZ Stadium, SydneySouth Africa
v Argentina, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria23 August 2014:
New Zealand v Australia, Eden Park, Auckland
Argentina v South Africa
,TBC, Argentina6 September 2014:
Australia v South Africa
, Patersons Stadium, Perth
New Zealand v Argentina, McLean Park, Napier13 September 2014:
Australia v Argentina, Skilled Park, Gold Coast
New Zealand v South Africa
, Westpac Stadium, Wellington27 September 2014:South Africa
v Australia, Newlands, Cape Town
Argentina v New Zealand, TBC, Argentina4 October 2014:South Africa
v New Zealand, Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Argentina v Australia TBC, Argentina