Stage is set for Tri-Nations bore

We’ve been suffering from post-Lions depression here at The Rugby Blog. An epic series, and one that we should have won, and now there is nothing until September.

That’s not strictly true though. The Tri-Nations begins this weekend, with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa playing each other again and again and again for weeks on end.

Last year’s tournament, plagued by the now-defunct ELVs, was one of the worst episodes of International Rugby I’ve ever seen. The event seemed to last for an eternity, so that by the end of it, most people seemed to lose interest in the outcome.

Given that the tournament refuses to let anyone else join the party, maintaining its three team format, the fact that it lasts for two months is frankly ludicrous. The last game is on the 19th September, and fortunately by then we’ll have the Guinness Premiership and Magners League to be excited about.

What do you think about the Tri-Nations? Am I just a bit grumpy because we lost the Lions?

If you’d like to make the tournament more interesting, join our predictions game on SuperBru. Head to and enter the pool code barspoll to join the league.

15 thoughts on “Stage is set for Tri-Nations bore

  1. Am I just a bit grumpy because we lost the Lions?

    The reason the lions was interesting was because the best these little islands had to offer went against a Tri-Nation.

    These are without a doubt the best 3 teams in the world playing against each other, and the quality of the rugby comes with it, regardless of which set of rules we’re playing to this week.

    I’ll acknowledge that 3 teams in a comp doesn’t make for a great structure. Perhaps we could add the Lions as a make-do 4th? ;)

  2. The Lions as a fourth team could be an option. It will be interesting to see the standard of all three teams – SA will need to be better than they were, NZ lost to France, so it could be Australia’s for the taking??

  3. The tri-nations borefest shows the lack of imagination of O’Neill and his mates. Rarity value makes test matches special – see the Lions… the Tri-Nations has gone too far the other way and has succeeded in making the special feel dull and ordinary. It’s solely about money – hence no Argentinian involvement.

  4. I have to agree with lawteacher here – the SANZAR committee must have done some back-of-the-envelope calculations and realised that the amount of money they make is proportional to the number of games we play.

    “But we’ve only got three teams?” one of them might have said.

    “Doesn’t matter. We’ll just play each other over and over and over again.”


    “Of course it won’t get boring.”

  5. “the amount of money they make is proportional to the number of games we play.”

    I’d love to see the calculations, where-ever you write them, that show that it isn’t

    Would 3 games individually have more importance than a ‘tounament’ with 9? Obviously.

    Would those 3 games altogether make more money than the 9? Obviously not.

    Which of those 2 routes you take probably depends on whether you run a multi-million dollar sporting corporation in a professional era, or an amateur club house full of old farts.

  6. Well excuse me but NZ AU SZ are not the nations who play ten man rugby and cheat our games are nearley all classic and becouse we got no wodden spooners SCO ITA we have the best compitition in the world heince your comments are WRONG

  7. Why are so many of the Northern hemisphere fans so concerned about Southern hemisphere competitions?

    Could it be that the best 3 teams in the world constantly compete against one another and therefore remain at the top of their game?

    Worry more about your own league matches and rather try to up your game to be more competitive with the Big top 3.

  8. I agree that the 6 nations remains more interesting than the tri-nations but there is no doubt that the quality of the tri-nations is higher.

    By playing the tri-nations matches at different stadiums they will keep punters flocking to the grounds so it is unlikely to diminish in it’s attractiveness to locals – it’s just really the international community that might get a bit bored of it.

    But i think Gagger’s point is the important one. The game is supposed to make money and they seem to be doing that well enough in the southern hemisphere whilst not burning their players out and keeping the quality high. Something we (in England and France rather than the other 6 nations teams) could learn from.

  9. Why are so many of the Northern hemisphere fans so concerned about Southern hemisphere competitions?

    Because first and foremost we are rugby supporters, not small-minded regionalists. It’s not like you guys don’t have plenty to say about the Northern game and we don’t begrudge you that.

    The fact is, the matches do not feel special, whatever the quality (they are high quality but also lack real intensity at times). And by the end the players are knackered, the teams know exactly how the other will play so cancel each other out. The length of the tournament also means you get quite a few dead games. I’m sorry but there have been very few classic Tri-Nations games in recent years. In the early noughties when everyone played each other twice there were some classic tournaments (particularly remember 2000 and 2001 as being spectacular). There was no need to change that. And if you want to expand it (yes I’m going to play the Argentina card again), why not invite a team who finished ahead of 2 of the 3 teams at the last World Cup?

    It is yet another example of what sport administrators across the world completely fail to grasp (see also football and especially cricket) – sometimes, less is more.

  10. Well as a supporter of one of the teams in the Tri-Nations, I can tell you I’ll still be yelling at the TV and just as enthralled as I was in the early 00’s.

    Conversely, there were more than a few games in this years 6 nations – make that most of them – that were a waste of time for a neutral (and many a supporter I’d wager).

    The Irish/Welsh finale was the only one I can remember off hand that stood out, and that was for the drama, not the quality of the rugby.

    Maybe you need to play less of those 6 nations games…….

  11. stuart im a kiwi and you are the small minded one not spike you say none of the matches feel speicial I’m offended to be in the same chat room as you becouse I have been to a spirngbok all blacks game and it was extrodanairy gagger is right although witch team he supports his qustionable. I would just like to say one more thing I’m not worry about what you poms think if you like it great but if not poop to you becouse I like it and so do the millions that watch it every year.
    P.S. It is dramatic when you see the all blacks get beaten by 12 points then come back 29 points to win a seires, Is it not?

  12. Well I have to agree with the guys form the SH; the 3N is the best tournement in the world and the wuality is outstanding, there is as much drama as in the 6N – neither tournement is a rolling bunch of classic games but which competition is – and the money that is generates is extraordinary.

    I would like to see Argentina being let in, Yes they will take a few beatings but we need to find every avenue that is available to us to develop the game and Argentina is one of them. The inclusion of Italy has not been completely successful but neither were France when they joined the 4N, I hope that italy will develop and one day be a world team of proportion.

    There have been only 4 teams that have won the World Cup and if we are all realistic then would admit that at the start of every WC there are only four maybe 5 teams in contention for the prize, this has to change if Rugby is to be a truely world sport.

    We always have to be looking at ways to develop and bring in new teams.

    Once again, I can’t wait for the tri nations to start.

  13. I’m definitely up for the Argies to join, as I believe is John O’Neill (can I say his name here without invoking a full whinge?).

    The problem that everyone has is the logistics. If they played out of Argentina, you’d have a tournament literally spanning the globe. It’s already a travelling nightmare, not quite like jumping on a bus to Wales.

    Second, all their players are in Europe, throwing up all the usual contractual shit.

    But wait, we shouldn’t do it anyway, it would just be “more meaningless games” among the top 4 countries in the world…..

  14. Gagger – you may have half a point about commercial necessities. How you make your point is a bit of an issue for you to sort out though!

    Are you saying that playing the same team three times in a row every year is essential for the survivial of rugby in the southern hemisphere? Or in your view is it a must to maximise profit at the expense of the game?

    Which is it? Hard to work out from the sniping comments…

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