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Rugby Championship Combined XV

during The Rugby Championship match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at ANZ Stadium on August 8, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.

The Rugby Championship will kick off this weekend.

Following their domination of the 2015 World Cup, the southern hemisphere’s elite international sides are set to do battle over the coming weeks in the Rugby Championship.

However, the rugby landscape has changed a great deal since each of the World Cup’s semi final slots were filled by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Although the Wallabies seemed to be on an upward trajectory under Michael Cheika, their confidence has been diminished somewhat after being whitewashed by Australia in June.

Likewise, soon after the All Blacks finished celebrating celebrating their World Cup triumph, many of their key players either retired or moved to European clubs. Since the Autumn of 2015, South Africa have not only had to watch players leave for Europe, but politicians interfere with squad selection.

Meanwhile, it seems as though Argentina failed to capitalise fully on the inclusion of the Jaguares in Super Rugby this season, raising question marks over the quality of Los Pumas.

Nevertheless, the Rugby Championship will see some of the best and most exciting players in the game showcase their talents over the coming weeks.

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1. Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)

South Africa v New Zealand - 2009 Tri Nations
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
2. Dane Coles (New Zealand)

South Africa v New Zealand - The Rugby Championship
(Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
3. Ramiro Herrera (Argentina)

Argentina v Australia - Semi Final: Rugby World Cup 2015

4. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)

South Africa v Samoa - Group B: Rugby World Cup 2015
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
5.Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)

The Rugby Championship - New Zealand v Argentina
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
6. Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)

South Africa v New Zealand - Semi Final: Rugby World Cup 2015
(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
7. David Pocock (Australia)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 08: David Pocock of the Wallabies looks on with a cut left eye during The Rugby Championship match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at ANZ Stadium on August 8, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
8. Kieran Read (New Zealand)

New Zealand v Australia - Bledisloe Cup
(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
9. Aaron Smith (New Zealand)

South Africa v New Zealand - The Rugby Championship
(Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
10. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)

New Zealand v Australia - Final: Rugby World Cup 2015

11. Ben Smith (New Zealand)

New Zealand v Australia - Final: Rugby World Cup 2015
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
12. Matt Giteau (Australia)

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: Matt Giteau of Australia goes over to score their third try during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between England and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on October 3, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
13. Malakai Fekitoa (New Zealand)

South Africa v New Zealand - The Rugby Championship
(Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

 

14. Santiago Cordero (Argentina)

Argentina v Australia - Semi Final: Rugby World Cup 2015
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
15. Israel Folau (Australia)

Australia v New Zealand - The Rugby Championship
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

 

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Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena

 

 

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