Brought to the world by SANZAAR, the 2016 Rugby Championship saw quite a few changes from last year’s game. Today, let us take a closer look back upon the 2016 Championship and its ups and downs. While there was some question as to why an event with only four countries was considered a “championship”—that would be like asking: why is there a “Miss Universe” pageant when only people from Earth participate.
The reason does not really matter. All that does matter is that there is suitable representation for the sport. The countries involved in the 2016 championship were New Zealand (the public favorite), Australia, South Africa, and Argentina. This was the first time that the championship was held in a ‘neutral’ host such as Argentina.
If you followed it carefully, the games ran from August 20th to October 8th. What we particularly found exciting about the 2016 championship was the fact that the games had restored its 6 round formatting instead of the previous 3 rounds. This time the matches would be longer and fans would be able to see more of their heroes.
There was much anticipation whether or not Australia would be able to keep the title or would the favorites (the All Blacks) would be able to snatch the title.
The first round saw several incredible matches.
Australia versus New Zealand
The match was held at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney. The result was Australia with a final score of 8 while New Zealand held a score of 42. Quite a large number, indeed! The MotM (Man of the Match) was New Zealand’s Beauden Barret.
South Africa versus Argentina
This match was held in the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. It was a rather to and fro match for a while before South Africa blew past Argentina’s good defenses and scored 30 while Argentina lagged behind with 23. The MotM was South Africa’s Faf de Klerk.
The second round saw some attempted reversals!
Australia versus New Zealand
On the 27th of August, the 2nd round of this match was held in Westpac Stadium in Wellington. There were many that were hoping that Australia was going to take charge of the game and recover from the overwhelming loss of the first round.
The final score was 29 for New Zealand and 9 for Australia. Quite a disappointing score for Australia! The MotM was New Zealand’s Israel Dagg who played as RW for this game.
South Africa versus Argentina
Things were certainly heating up with this fight! Argentina suffered quite a bit from the first match. In a surprising turn of events, they won the 2nd round with 26 points while South Africa was close behind with 24 points.
Loud cheers resounded in Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena in Saita. The Man of the Match was Argentina’s Facundo Isa.
The third match saw Argentina face the solid majesty of the All Blacks.
New Zealand versus Argentina
The Waikato Stadium in Hamilton was reportedly a bit of an uncomfortable place to be at if you were a supporter of Argentina. The New Zealand team won with a high score of 57 while Argentina was beaten to a pulp with a score of 22.
New Zealand’s Julian Savea was named the Man of the Match.
Australia versus South Africa
A tad more exciting over the thrashing that had occurred over the NZ versus Argentina match, Australia and South Africa went into a back and forth before one triumphed over the other. The Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane was happy to declare that Australia won with the score of 23 over South Africa’s 17 points.
Australia’s Michael Hooper was named the man of the match.
The fourth match
New Zealand versus South Africa
The AMI Stadium in Christchurch must have been a tad uncomfortable to see New Zealand soundly triumphed over South Africa with the final score of 41 to South Africa’s 13.
New Zealand’s Dane Coles was named MotM.
Australia versus Argentina
Australia once again proved their dominance with the score of 36 while Argentina gave it a good try with 20 points. This fight allowed Australia to retain their Puma trophy.
The fifth match saw a massive upset by South Africa
South Africa versus Australia
South Africa managed to power through the Australian powerhouses and bagged a score of 18 while Australia’s progress was halted at 10.
Argentina versus New Zealand
It seems that there was no stopping New Zealand no matter what. NZ triumphed once again with a score of 36. Argentina had the score of 17.
The sixth round merely put the final emphasis on New Zealand’s triumphant run.
South Africa versus New Zealand
With the final score of 15 to South Africa and 57 to New Zealand, there was no doubt left in anyone’s mind that NZ was going home with the title.
Argentina versus Australia
Australia regained their senses and won the match with the score of 33. With this win, Australia’s Samu Kerevi was named the man of the match.
New Zealand took first place with a 6 wins and 0 losses. Australia bagged second place at 3 wins and 0 losses. South Africa was at the 3rd place with a 2 wins and 4 losses. Finally, Argentina was at last place with 1 win and 5 losses.
All in all, it was a thoroughly entertaining sports event. New Zealand, the favorite, dominated the entire championship event. Australia, while at second place, did make a show of force. While they did not retain their title, they can go home with their heads held high.
The 2016 Championship saw the return of the title to New Zealand and it also Australia retaining a couple of their titles as well. As it goes to show, rugby is a sport where you cannot completely determine who the winner is based on past performances and fan favorites.
As the 2016 championship was a pretty big success, there is no doubt in our minds that the 2017 Rugby Championship is also something to look forward to! What was your favorite memory regarding the 2016 championship? What team did you root for?