Thousands of empty seats in Perth, yet more glaring refereeing blunders in both tests and what appears to be an increasing gap between the All Blacks and everyone else - the Rugby Championship needs a big finish to salvage credibility.

More importantly, it needs a big finish to drive up the value of its broadcast rights - the contracts for which are currently being negotiated.

The format is only in its third year and already it appears to have slipped into a familiar pattern.

The All Blacks' three home tests against Argentina have been eerily similar in style and outcome. The Bledisloe encounters have run, mostly, to a well-worked script, and 15 tests into this brave new world of the Rugby Championship and the All Blacks are yet to lose.


There is a sense of killing time until the serious business of playing the Springboks comes around.

The Pumas are vastly improved, and probably, as All Black coach Steve Hansen said, not that far from gaining the self-belief they need to take a few scalps.

But in this world of instant gratification, the masses only see a team that is yet to win and not much more than cannon fodder.

It's only history that saves the Wallabies from being assessed in the same way and it is possible that if the All Blacks win this weekend, they might need only one point from their final two games to secure their third consecutive title.

Broadcasters are buying five-year rights to the Rugby Championship from 2016. The gamble for them is whether this competition has enduring value and capacity to build its audience or whether what they see now is what they will be getting in 2021.

That even Australians can't muster the enthusiasm to watch the Wallabies is a bit of a worry, but not as big a concern as the blundering of those let loose with a whistle.

It's incredible that referee Pascal Gauzere missed Julian Savea being tackled without the ball in the early exchanges yet saw a knock-on no one else did to deny Leonardo Senatore a perfectly legitimate try.

In Perth, George Clancy gave the Wallabies a 10-minute window to scramble the victory when he showed Bryan Habana a yellow-card for a supposed high tackle on Adam Ashley-Cooper.

The Irishman, having instinctively reached for his card, calmed down, took a look on the big screen and then went back into his pocket. It's questionable whether it was even a penalty - Habana appearing to hit the chest before sliding up to the shoulders.

That was a game-changer that gave the Wallabies a golden opportunity to work Rob Horne free on the left to steal the win.

The Senatore decision was probably a game-changer too.

The All Blacks would have faced an entirely different final quarter had the Pumas picked up the seven points they should have.

The time-honoured belief that the universe will right itself over the course of a season is hard to sustain. It seems that things don't really work themselves out in the wash and South Africa in particular may be wondering if they have been forever cast as victims, being hard done by Clancy and also Romain Poite at Eden Park last year.

The pressure is on. The tournament needs an element of surprise and drama that doesn't come from an official making a hash of it - or an overzealous security guard trying to be a hero.