Ahead of the start of this year’s Rugby Championship, we take a look at five classic encounters from the competition’s – and its predecessor, the Tri-Nations’ – history.
There’s a victory from all four sides within our five featured games, which include some of the best rugby matches ever played.
So ahead of the Rugby Championship kicking off on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, get yourself in the mood with a look back at these crackers…
Australia vs New Zealand
August 18, 2018, 10:30am
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Australia 35-39 New Zealand – Tri-Nations – July 2000
This was a titanic tussle between Australia and New Zealand in Sydney, watched by 109,874 fans, in a match which has been described as the greatest game of rugby ever played.
It’s a bold statement but the pulsating encounter had everything as the All Blacks snatched victory in a thrilling finale.
Tries from Tanu Umaga, Pita Alatini and Christian Cullen fired the visitors into a commanding 24-0 lead after just nine frantic first-half minutes.
But the Wallabies launched a mesmerising comeback to level the game at 24-24 with Stirling Mortlock scoring twice before Chris Latham and Joe Roff crossed the line.
Justin Marshall’s score restored New Zealand’s lead but Jeremy Paul’s try edged Australia into a 35-34 lead with only minutes remaining.
Step forward the great Jonah Lomu as the winger picked up Taine Randall’s pass and surged past Stephen Larkham to score the winning try in injury time.
0:54 The 2000 Bledisloe Cup clash between then reigning world champions Australia and New Zealand in Sydney is regarded by some as the best rugby match ever
New Zealand 29-32 South Africa – Tri-Nations – September 2009
A dramatic win for South Africa in Hamilton fired the team to their first Tri-Nations title since 2004.
Long-range penalties from Francois Steyn kicked the Springboks into the lead before Fourie du Preez’s try stretched their advantage to 16-6.
The All Blacks spurned try-scoring opportunities through Dan Carter and Stephen Donald to leave them trailing 22-12 at half-time.
Carter’s intercepted pass was seized upon by Jean de Villiers as South Africa stretched their lead in the second half before New Zealand rallied.
Sitiveni Sivivatu scored for the hosts to set up a tense end to the match but Morne Steyn nailed a penalty to clinch the win and seal the title for Peter de Villiers’ team.
South Africa 22-29 New Zealand – Tri-Nations – August 2010
A year later, the All Blacks pulled off a dramatic win over a South Africa team which had won a British & Irish Lions series the previous year and were the reigning world champions.
New Zealand left it late in Johannesburg with two tries in the final two minutes giving them the victory which secured the Tri Nations title.
Schalk Burger’s try and the boot of Morne Steyn gave the hosts a 16-14 lead at half-time.
The Springboks were 22-17 in front up until the 78th minute when Richie McCaw levelled the match with a disputed try which the hosts claimed had featured a forward pass.
The drama was not finished though as Israel Dagg latched onto Ma’a Nonu’s pass and went over for the decisive score which sparked wild celebrations from the New Zealand players.
South Africa 39-41 Australia – Tri-Nations – September 2010
A late penalty from Kurtley Beale snatched the win for Australia in a pulsating clash in Bloemfontein.
Australia led 31-13 at the break before the Springboks fought back to claim the lead heading into the final quarter of the match.
Beale scored the opening try for the Wallabies before James O’Connor profited from a misplaced lineout throw. Hooker Stephen Moore added their third try and the visitors wrapped up the bonus point when captain Rocky Elsom crossed the line.
Victor Matfield set up Jaque Fourie for a much-needed score for South Africa to give them hope for the second half.
Prop Gurthro Steenkamp scored a try after the break and De Villiers’ finish, coupled with Morne Steyn’s penalty, handed the Springboks an unlikely and sensational lead.
A Drew Mitchell try and O’Connor conversion made it 38-36 to Australia before Steyn’s penalty restored the hosts’ lead by the slenderest margin. However the last word went to Beale as his kick settled this engrossing contest and handed South Africa the wooden spoon.
South Africa 25-37 Argentina – Rugby Championship – August 2015
Argentina clinched their first win over South Africa at the 20th attempt after a superb performance in Durban.
The Pumas had lost 18 of their 19 previous meetings but their victory over the Springboks ensured they finished off the bottom of the Championship for the first time.
Winger Juan Imhoff scored a 19-minute hat-trick for Argentina which made the difference and helped them create history.
Centre Marcelo Bosch gave the Pumas the perfect start by scoring the opening try within one minute’s play at King’s Park. Two scores from Imhoff gave the visitors a 27-13 half-time lead.
Highlights of Argentina's historic win over South Africa in the Rugby Championship
Winger Imhoff’s third try, shortly after the restart, extended Argentina’s lead which meant efforts from South Africa’s Bryan Habana, Lood de Jager and Willie le Roux could not prevent a third successive defeat in the Championship.