The 2005 Tri Nations Series, an annual rugby union competition between the national teams of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, was the tenth in the series. The competition is organised by SANZAR, a consortium of the three countries' rugby federations. This was the last year in which the Tri Nations was contested in its original double round-robin format, with each team playing the others twice.
|Champions||New Zealand (6th title)|
|Bledisloe Cup||New Zealand|
|Tries scored||26 (4.33 per match)|
|Attendance||303,056 (50,509 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)||Percy Montgomery (52)|
|Most tries|| Bryan Habana (3)|
Doug Howlett (3)
Joe Rokocoko (3)
The All Blacks won the competition, with the key being a nail-biting 31–27 win over the South Africa Springboks at Carisbrook in Dunedin. The All Blacks also retained the Bledisloe Cup by sweeping the Australia Wallabies in both fixtures. The Mandela Challenge Plate between Australia and South Africa was contested outside the Tri Nations.
The All Blacks were clear favourites going in, having come off a sweep of the British & Irish Lions. The Springboks entered with many questions, most dealing with the player selections made by coach Jake White. Many in South Africa questioned White's selections after a loss to Australia in the first leg of the Mandela Plate. However, the Springboks won the second leg to retain the Mandela Plate. The Wallabies entered with promise, but had been hurt by the loss of talismanic fly-half Stephen Larkham to a shoulder injury before the series.
The series began with the South Africa leg. In the opener, the Springboks came from behind to defeat the Wallabies at Loftus Versfeld. The 22–16 margin gave the Wallabies the consolation of a bonus point. The following week at Newlands, the Boks handed the All Blacks what would prove to be their only loss in 2005 by the identical score.
When the series moved to Australia, the All Blacks ensured themselves of retaining the Bledisloe Cup by a comprehensive 30–13 win over the Wallabies. However, they failed to earn a bonus point. The Springboks kept pace with the All Blacks by nipping Australia the following week 22–19.
The series decider proved to be the first match of the New Zealand leg, pitting the All Blacks and Springboks. In a closely fought match, a late try by Keven Mealamu gave the All Blacks both the win and a key bonus point. They would secure the trophy the next week with a bonus-point win over the Wallabies.
The All Blacks emerged from the Tri Nations as clearly the best team in the world in 2005. They had enough depth to shrug off what would have been a devastating loss to most other national teams—an injury to arguably their best player, fly-half Daniel Carter during the win in Sydney, that kept him out of the tests at home against the Springboks and the Wallabies. The All Blacks would punctuate their season with a "Grand Slam" over all four Home Nations on their November tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Carter would come back for the Grand Slam tour, and was selected as 2005 World Player of the Year by the International Rugby Board.
As for the Springboks, they showed themselves to be a close second to the All Blacks, silencing White's critics in the process. For the second straight year, the Tri Nations was the international coming-out party for a young Springboks star. In 2004, Schalk Burger, Jean de Villiers and Marius Joubert emerged as major stars, with Burger going on to be named the IRB World Player of the Year. This year, Bryan Habana established himself as one of the world's most dangerous wings, and was named a finalist for World Player of the Year.
The Wallabies fought bravely throughout the series, but were ultimately outmanned. The competition exposed major weaknesses in their front row. They would spiral downward to their longest Test losing streak since 1969, which would cost head coach Eddie Jones his job.
As in past competitions, points were earned on the following schedule:
- 4 points for a win
- 2 points for a draw
- 0 points for a loss
- 1 bonus point for scoring 4 tries or more, win or lose
- 1 bonus point for a loss by 7 points or less
- Leading try scorers:
- Leading point scorer:
- Percy Montgomery (SA) – 52
30 July 2005
15:00 SAST (UTC+02)
|Tries: Breyton Paulse
Cons: Percy Montgomery
Pens: Percy Montgomery (3)
Drops: Percy Montgomery, André Pretorius
|Tries: George Smith |
Pens: Matt Giteau (3)
6 August 2005
15:00 SAST (UTC+02)
|South Africa||22–16||New Zealand|
|Tries: Jean de Villiers
Con: Percy Montgomery
Pen: Percy Montgomery (4)
DG: André Pretorius
|Tries: Rico Gear |
Con: Daniel Carter Pen: Daniel Carter (3)
13 August 2005
20:00 AEST (UTC+10)
|Tries: Drew Mitchell
Con: Matt Giteau
Pen: Matt Giteau (2)
|Tries: Richie McCaw, Joe Rokocoko, Piri Weepu |
Con: Daniel Carter (2), Luke McAlister
Pen: Daniel Carter (3)
20 August 2005
18:00 AWST (UTC+08)
|Tries: Clyde Rathbone
Con: Mat Rogers
Pen: Mat Rogers (3), Matt Giteau
|Tries: Brian Habana (2) |
Pen: Percy Montgomery (3)
DG: Percy Montgomery
27 August 2005
19:35 NZST (UTC+12)
|New Zealand||31–27||South Africa|
|Tries: Leon MacDonald, Keven Mealamu Joe Rokocoko (2)
Con: Leon MacDonald (3), Luke McAlister
Pen: Leon MacDonald
|Tries: Jaque Fourie, Brian Habana, Ricky Januarie |
Con: Percy Montgomery (3) Pen: Percy Montgomery (2)
3 September 2005
19:35 NZST (UTC+12)
|Tries: Doug Howlett (3), Richie McCaw
Con: Leon MacDonald
Pen: Leon MacDonald, Luke McAlister (3)
|Tries: Mark Chisholm, Mark Gerrard, Lloyd Johansson, Lote Tuqiri |
Con: Mat Rogers (2)
|Tri Nations |
- "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 22-16 Australia". South African Rugby Union. 30 July 2005. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- Using average from Ten years of Tri Nations Archived 13 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- "397th All Black Test : 1118th All Black Game". AllBlacks.com. Retrieved 20 August 2006.
- "398th All Black Test : 1119th All Black Game". AllBlacks.com. Retrieved 20 August 2006.
- Tri Nations at Rugby.com.au