Jan 15 (Reuters) - New Zealand will begin the defence of their Rugby Championship crown against Australia in Sydney on Aug. 17, organisers said on Tuesday.
The World Cup-winning All Blacks will then host the Wallabies in Wellington before facing Argentina in Hamilton and South Africa at Eden Park, Auckland.
They finish their campaign on the road, firstly taking on Argentina before moving on to Johannesburg to face the Springboks on Oct. 5.
Argentina, who lost five matches and drew one in their tournament debut last year, will again begin their campaign away to South Africa before hosting the Springboks the following week.
SANZAR Ceo Greg Peters said the inclusion of Argentina into the expanded Tri-Nations had been a success.
“A total of over 16 million viewers tuned into the 12 tests of the Rugby Championship and an average of 44,000 attended the matches, which saw stadiums at 91 percent capacity,” the New Zealander said.
“The first round of action, with the Wallabies playing the All Blacks in Sydney, and the Springboks hosting the Pumas in Bloemfontein, will have added spice considering the last time each of these two nations played - the result was an 18-18 and 16-16 draw respectively.”
Fixtures Aug. 17 Australia v New Zealand, ANZ Stadium, Sydney South Africa v Argentina, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein Aug. 24 New Zealand v Australia, Westpac Stadium, Wellington Argentina v South Africa, Estadio Malvinas Argentinas,
Sept. 7 Australia v South Africa, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane New Zealand v Argentina, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Sept. 14 Australia v Argentina, Patersons Stadium, Perth New Zealand v South Africa, Eden Park, Auckland
Sept. 28 South Africa v Australia, DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town. Argentina v New Zealand, Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata.
Oct. 5 South Africa v New Zealand, Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg Argentina v Australia, Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario. (Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by Peter Rutherford)