Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Autumn International Rugby

The Autumn Internationals are an annual series of rugby union test matches that take place in the northern hemisphere autumn. It is largely a north versus south event, with teams from the Six Nations (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy) taking on those from the Tri Nations (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia), and Argentina. Matches are played in the northern host country.

More recently the series has also included second tier rugby nations like Canada, Romania, Portugal, Uruguay, USA, and the Pacific nations of Samoa and Fiji (playing either as national teams, or more often, as the combined Pacific Islanders team). For these teams, the series is an important source of revenue which enables them to develop the game in their respective countries.

Traditionally, one of the big three Southern Hemisphere teams is given the opportunity of playing a grand slam tour against the four home nations (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales); needless to say, it is an impressive achievement to win the grand slam, having been achieved only a handful of times in the hundred-odd years of the game's history.

Finally, the Autumn Internationals are usually capped off by a match involving the invitational Barbarians playing against either Australia, South Africa or New Zealand in the Final Challenge - the traditional final match of a tour of Britain and Ireland by one of the Tri Nations heavyweights.

Monday, 21 September 2009

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