(Original Article by Steve-o) It's that time of year again, and thank goodness for that. There's a sense of uncertainty as the kickoff to the first game nears. Where exactly are the worlds top 3 sides in comparison to each other? Bookies are even fretting on calling a clear cut favourite. Many rugby fans view the Springboks and All Blacks in a league of their compared to the rest of the world, and it's almost becoming a bit of a clichÃ© to not tip the Wallabies as true contenders but to write them off completely. Brief pre-season overview of each team: Australia Wallaby coach Robbie Deans has the trickest selections to make out of his other two rivals. Injury has plagued the Aussie front-row with the vengeance his season. After been given a scrum lesson of epic proportions by the English, their confidence in the most important set piece in the game has been demolished. An Aussie backline brimming with game breakers have their work cut out to find momentum. The emergence of Quade Cooper has given Deans a good headache. He has to choose between Cooper and Giteau to control proceedings. Bless him. Aggressive rucking and technically superb backline play will stead the Aussies in good steam but they lack grunt and set piece dominance to truly challenge for the title. New Zealand Business as usual is the indication from the All Black talent factory, as a fresh batch of young star have popped onto the scene. Whitelock, Cruden and Dagg have proved their worth in the Super 14 and it will be exciting to how they come along in this tough tournament. The most notable threat in the All Blacks is once again an on-form Dan Carter. Although the Kiwi's brushed aside all comers during the June Tests they will not be happy with their performances and the measure of the challenge presented by the touring teams. South Africa The World and Tri-Nations Champions have been tipped as favourites by bookies here in SA. Peter de Villiers has picked as strong squad in an attempt to defend the title. With just over a year till the World Cup it is obvious the Bok coach wants to gain a psychological advantage over the All Blacks on their home turf. The Springboks are however without 3 of their top players that secured them the trophy last year. Frans Steyn, Fourie Du Preez and Heinrich Brussow are all out of contention for selection. The Bok are robbed of two masters of the kicking game in Du Preez and Steyn, with kicking traditionally being a weapon of choice for the Boks it will be interesting to see how Januarie and Kirchner utilized. ------------------------------------- The Tri-Nations kicks off this Saturday with the Springboks taking on the All Blacks in Auckland, at a field where they haven't beat the All Blacks since 1937. This has been labeled a somewhat revenge Test as the All Blacks look to end their 3 game losing streak against the Boks.