The East Terrace - For the rugby football enthusiast

Fans thrilled by expansion of Tri-Nations

Tri-Nations changes welcomed

Posted 10th July, 2006

Fans of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have expressed their ‘utter delight’ at the new-format Tri-Nations tournament.

The 2006 competition is the first time each team will play each other three times rather than twice a season, as has usually been the case in past seasons.

‘To be honest,’ said New Zealand supporter Chris Keeffe, ‘it was getting a little stale. I saw us playing Australia twice every year and the same for South Africa. I was getting frustrated with only seeing us clash just a couple of times with our rivals. What I really wanted was the chance to see us play them a bit more. So for me this new fixture arrangement is perfect.’

Keeffe’s views were shared by his fellow fans in Australia and South Africa.

‘To think the rugby authorities could have done something really stupid like invite Argentina or a Pacific Islands team into this competition,’ said Mick Robinson from Melbourne, Australia.

‘That would have risked everything feeling a little uncertain, a little out of the ordinary. There would have been a wider range of playing styles on offer, a new set of players to learn the names of and the risk of developing another team from outside the SANZAR block. Thankfully, they did the only sensible thing: kept the pie to themselves.’

There are, however, a few fans who are not completely happy with the new fixtures. Many are disappointed with the fact each team plays an uneven number of home and away fixtures. For example, under the new system, New Zealand play two games at home in Australia.

‘I think the rugby authorities need to drastically reconsider,’ said James Truter of Cape Town, South Africa. ‘It seems odd to have a three game system as it unbalances the home and away aspect of things. We need to quickly move to a four game system. This way you can play both teams home and away twice and balance the season out. As it stands, now I can only get crazy at George Gregan three times a year instead of four times!’

At press time, the SANZAR unions denied they were planning to replace the Super 14 competition with a twenty-week Tri-Nations event in 2008. The East Terrace was unable to obtain an official statement on the matter.