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October 9, 2009

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Boks start Tri-Nations with three games away from home

SOUTH Africa will open its Tri-Nations title defense with three away matches in July, including two in New Zealand and one against Australia in Brisbane, venue of the Springboks' only loss in the 2009 campaign.

The South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby Unions unveiled the 2010 draw yesterday.

The World Cup champion started this Tri-Nations season with home tests against New Zealand and Australia and built up a competition lead with four straight wins until going down to the Wallabies in Brisbane. It rebounded the following week to beat New Zealand and end the All Blacks' four-year domination of the tournament.

New Zealand thrashed Australia the following week to finish in second place, while Australia finished the series with just one win.

Australia will play the All Blacks in Sydney and Melbourne, with an away match in Christchurch in between. The away matches against South Africa will be challenging, with tests in Pretoria and Bloemfontein on back-to-back weekends. The Wallabies haven't beaten the Springboks on South Africa's high veldt since 1963.

"It's challenging in some ways but it will be what we make of it at the time," Australia coach Robbie Deans said. "There is no point in sweating the small stuff.

"You go with what you're given and you make the most of it, and this group will be aiming to do something special."


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