World Rugby Competitions
The trophy guide - Part One
Huw Baines
October 29, 2008

In part one of a fact-filled feature brings you a little closer to the silverware on offer around the world on the international stage. So if you don't know your Calcutta Cup from your Centenary Quaich, read on for the first part of our trophy special.

Rugby World Cup - Webb Ellis Cup

A close up view of the Webb Ellis Cup, awarded to the winners of the Rugby World Cup
The Webb Ellis Cup © IRB
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The inaugural Rugby World Cup was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 1987. Sixteen teams were invited to participate by the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB).

New Zealand beat France in the final to become the first team to lift the newly crafted Webb Ellis Cup, named after the Rugby school pupil credited with inventing rugby union.

The cup is silver, gilded in gold, with the words International Rugby Football Board and The Webb Ellis Cup engraved on its front. The 38cm cup has two cast scroll handles, one in the shape of a satyr and the other a nymph. It was crafted by Garrard & Co of London.

The Rugby World Cup came to the northern hemisphere in 1991 when it was hosted by England, with matches also being played in Ireland and France. Australia defeated England 12-6 in the final at Twickenham.

The 1995 tournament was hosted by South Africa, following the end of the international sporting boycott. The final at Ellis Park provided one of the defining moments in rugby history, as victorious Springbok captain Francois Pienaar was presented with the trophy by Nelson Mandela.

In 1999 the tournament was expanded to include 20 teams, also introducing a quarter-final play-off. Hosted by Wales, with games held in Ireland and Scotland, the final was won by Australia, who beat France 35-12.

Australia would again host the tournament in 2003, with Jonny Wilkinson's famous drop goal making England the first northern hemisphere team to lift the trophy as they beat the hosts 20-17 in extra time.

The 2007 World Cup was held in France, with South Africa recording their second victory after beating England 15-9 in the final at the Stade de France. The 2011 tournament will be staged in New Zealand.

Six Nations Championship

Wales captain Ryan Jones lifts the Six Nations trophy, March 15 2008
Wales captain Ryan Jones lifts the Six Nations trophy in March 2008 © Getty Images

The Six Nations championship is the largest rugby tournament in the northern hemisphere. The tournament is contested annually by England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

Each team plays each other once, with home advantage alternating on a yearly basis. Teams are awarded two points for a win and one for a draw.

The tournament can be won in two different manners, with a side winning either a championship or a Grand Slam. A Grand Slam is completed when a side defeats all others during the tournament.

England hold the current record for Grand Slams with 12, followed by Wales with 10, France with eight, Scotland with three and Ireland one.

The Five Nations also encompasses the Triple Crown and several other inter country cups. The side that finishes at the bottom of the table wins the figurative "wooden spoon".

The championship began life in 1883 as the Home Nations championship, featuring England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. France were officially added to the mix in 1910 to make it the Five Nations championship, although they had participated in four previous tournaments.

The tournaments were suspended during both World Wars, and France were temporarily excluded from the championship between 1931 and 1939 due to allegations of professionalism, administrative troubles and a reputation for on field violence.

The tournament was reinstated in 1947 and would continue to grow as a spectacle, becoming a popular annual event for fans and eventually a big television draw.

A trophy was introduced for the first time in the 1993 tournament, won by France. The championship trophy was crafted from silver by London firm William Comyns. It has 15 panels, representing the players, and three handles, representing the officials.

The wooden base is emblazoned with each competing nation's emblems. Also, the handle on the lid of the trophy is changed according to the identity of the current champions. For example, as Wales are currently champions the handle is in the shape of the Prince of Wales feathers.

In 2000 the tournament was expanded to include Italy, making Scotland the last side to win a Five Nations championship.

France have won four Six Nations, with two Grand Slams, England three with one Grand Slam and Wales two Grand Slams.

Triple Crown

Brian O'Driscoll lifts the Triple Crown, March 10 2007
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll lifts the Triple Crown in March 2007 © Getty Images

The Triple Crown is contested by England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and is won when one team defeats the other three during a Six Nations championship.

No trophy was traditionally awarded for winning a Triple Crown, leading to it being dubbed "the invisible cup."

In 2006 the official sponsors of the tournament, RBS, commissioned a trophy for the Triple Crown winners. A large silver dish measuring 42 cm across and 5cm deep, the Triple Crown trophy was won for the first time by Ireland following their last minute 28-24 win over England at Twickenham.

England have the best historical record, winning the Triple Crown on 23 occasions, followed by Wales with 19, Scotland with 10 and Ireland with 9.

The current Triple Crown holders are Wales, who defeated Ireland 16-12 at Croke Park to win the trophy in March 2008. The Irish had themselves previously held the Triple Crown trophy three times in four Six Nations championships between 2004 and 2007, with their only failure during that time coming as a result of a Welsh Grand Slam in 2005.

Centenary Quaich

The Centenary Quaich has been contested on 121 occasions by Scotland and Ireland. It is on offer every time the teams meet in a Six Nations contest.

A quaich (pronounced "quake") is a Celtic drinking vessel, derived from the Gaelic "cuach". Traditionally the quaich comprises of a shallow bowl with two flat handles on each side.

Despite the Quaich being played for over many years, a trophy has only been on offer since 1989.

Calcutta Cup

Mike Blair lifts the Calcutta Cup, March 8 2008
Scotland captain Mike Blair lifts the Calcutta Cup in March 2008 © Getty Images

The Calcutta Cup is one of the most famous competitions in sport, and is the legacy of a lost club. Now contested every year by England and Scotland, the history of the cup began in 1872 in Calcutta.

A game organised by English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish ex-pats led to the creation of the Calcutta Rugby Club on Christmas Day 1872. A lack of opposition caused the club to disband, but before they did its founders offered a challenge cup to the Rugby Football Union. It was to be contested annually by England and Scotland and in memory of their club.

The Cup was wrought from the silver rupees contained in the bank account of the Calcutta club by Indian craftsmen, and reflects the history of the cup in its design.

The silver jug is 18 inches (45 cm) high and its handles are cobras, while an Indian elephant adorns the lid. The trophy itself consists of the Cup and two base plates, one recording the results of the many games and the other recording the two captains.

To date there have been 115 contests for the cup, with England winning 62, Scotland 39 with 14 draws. The Cup is currently contested during the annual Six Nations championship, and has become a fixture of the rugby calendar.

The current holders of the cup are Scotland, who fought their way past England 15-9 at a windswept Murrayfield in March 2008 thanks to the boots of Chris Paterson and Dan Parks.

The Millennium Trophy

Ireland celebrate with the Millennium Trophy after defeating England, February 19 1994
Ireland celebrate with the Millennium Trophy in 1994 © Getty Images

The Millennium Trophy is played for annually by Ireland and England as part of the Six Nations championship. The only time that it has been contested outside of the Five/Six Nations was in the inaugural test, which England won 21-10 at Lansdowne Road in 1988.

The trophy was commissioned as part of Dublin's millennial celebrations and is in the shape of a horned Viking helmet. To date, England have won the trophy 14 times and Ireland seven.

England are the current holders of the trophy following their 31-10 victory over Ireland at Twickenham in 2008. Danny Cipriani brought the helmet back to England following four consecutive years of Irish ownership, including the dramatic Irish victory in the first Anglo-Irish clash at Croke Park in 2007.

Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy

The Giuseppe Garibaldi trophy is awarded to the winner of the Six Nations match between Italy and France. The trophy has a special significance as it was designed and sculpted by a former player, legendary French flanker Jean-Pierre Rives.

The trophy was first awarded in 2007, when France beat Italy 39-3 at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome. They retained the trophy in 2008 with a 25-13 victory at the Stade de France.

The trophy is named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, an Italian revolutionary born in Nizza (now Nice) in 1807. He is held as one of the fathers of unified Italy and was also a general in the French army during the Franco-Prussian war.

Unusually, the Garibaldi trophy has two "godfathers"; Diego Dominguez of Italy and Jean Francois Tordo of France.

European Nations Cup

Georgia celebrate with the European Nations Cup, March 2008
Georgia celebrate after clinching the 2008 European Nations title © Getty Images

The European Nations Cup is the second tier European rugby tournament. It is contested on a bi-annual basis over seven divisions (1-3D), with promotion and relegation between divisions. There is currently no promotion into the Six Nations.

Division One will be contested in 2010 by six teams: Georgia, Germany, Portugal, Romania, Russia and Spain.

France took part in the tournament until 1994, and have the most overall wins with 25. Romania are the best placed of the current competitors with eight wins overall.

The most recent champions are Georgia, who continued their fine form from the 2007 Rugby World Cup to claim the title in 2008, beating Russia and Romania into second and third respectively.

The Antim Cup

The Antim Cup is the name given to a challenge cup contested annually by the teams of Romania and Georgia.

The Cup is named after Antim Ivireanul, or Anthim the Iberian, the Georgian born Metropolitan Bishop of Bucharest (1708 to 1715). Antim was a great theologian and philosopher, and is also credited with introducing the printing press to Romania.

The Cup was first suggested in 2000 and following clearance from the Georgian Orthodox Church it was first contested in 2002. The Cup itself was created from gilded bronze by former Georgian player Guia Japaridze.

Rugby World Cup Sevens

Fiji's talismanic captain Waisale Serevi lifts the Melrose Cup after his side defeated South Africa in the final of the World Cup Sevens, Fiji v South Africa, World Cup Sevens, Hong Kong Stadium, March 23 1997.
Fiji Sevens legend Waisale Serevi lifts the Melrose Cup in 1997 © Getty Images

The tournament was first proposed to the International Rugby Board by the Scottish Rugby Union and the inaugural event was hosted at Murrayfield in 1993.

The competition decides the winner of the Melrose Cup, named after the Scottish town in which sevens originated.

The first tournament was won by England, who defeated Australia 21-17 in the final. The 1997 tournament moved to Hong Kong, where sevens legend Waisale Serevi led Fiji to a thrilling 24-21 victory over South Africa in the final.

The 2001 final led to another chapter in the storied career of Jonah Lomu, where he scored three tries to help New Zealand to a 31-12 win over Australia in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

In 2005 the tournament returned to Hong Kong, and Waisale Serevi again led Fiji to victory. The talismanic Fijian captain had come out of retirement for the tournament and helped Fiji to become the first team to hold the Melrose Cup on two occasions. The 2009 tournament will be held in Dubai.

Tom Richards Trophy

John Eales lifts the Tom Richards Trophy in 2001 after defeating the Lions in the third Test match, July 14 2001
John Eales lifts the Tom Richards Trophy after defeating the Lions in 2001 © Getty Images

The Tom Richards Trophy was introduced for the British Lions tour of Australia in 2001. Australia won the first test series 2-1 and claimed the inaugural trophy.

It will now be contested every time the Lions tour Australia, and is named after the only man to ever play for both the Lions and Australia. Richards was an Australian who took part in the first tour of Britain by a Wallaby side and won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1908. He then moved to Britain and represented the Lions as a replacement on their tour to South Africa in 1910.

Richards later took part in the Gallipoli campaign during World War1. He was also awarded a Military Cross following his efforts in France during the War.

The Hillary Shield

The Hillary Shield was unveiled in September 2008 to be played for by England and New Zealand. The shield is named after New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to scale Mount Everest, who died in Auckland on January 11 2008.

Hillary had strong ties to both England and New Zealand, having scaled Everest as part of a British expedition in 1953. The first clash for the shield will be at Twickenham on November 29 2008, the game that could also potentially decide a Grand Slam for the All Blacks.

The inaugural trophy will be presented to the winning captain by Lady June Hillary, Hillary's widow.


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