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Wallabies, NZ to start Rugby Championship
Ben Horne
16:12 AEST Tue Jan 15 2013

Australia face another daunting start to the Rugby Championship with back-to-back clashes against the world champion All Blacks to kick off their 2013 campaign.

Governing body SANZAR released the draw for the second instalment of the four-nation tournament on Tuesday, with the order of matches the same as last year, but some different venues.

The Wallabies open the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup series at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Saturday, August 17 and must recoup to face New Zealand again seven days later on their home soil.

If there's a silver lining for Wallabies coach Robbie Deans it's that his men won't have to play the All Blacks at their graveyard, Auckland's Eden Park, with the match scheduled for Wellington's Westpac Stadium.

Last year the Wallabies were swamped 22-0 in their bid to break a 26-year drought at Eden Park and the match sealed New Zealand's 10th straight year holding the Bledisloe Cup.

Australia must win one of the first two fixtures against New Zealand to keep alive hopes of stealing back the Bledisloe, with a third match to be played after the Rugby Championship on October 19.

The third Bledisloe is slated for Dunedin - meaning the Wallabies will avoid Eden Park altogether for only the second time in nine years.

In round three of the Championship, Australia face South Africa at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on September 7 before flying to Perth to tackle Argentina a week later.

The Wallabies finish the program with away matches to the Springboks on September 28 in Cape Town and Argentina in Rosario on October 5.

Australia should be well prepared for the Rugby Championship, given they'll be coming off a testing three-Test home series against the British and Irish Lions.

Last year Australia finished second in the Rugby Championship, but were 14 points adrift of winners New Zealand.