Rugby Tropies: A History

Giorgi DolidzeCorrespondent IFebruary 8, 2009

We know that rugby is played all around the world and there are  a lot of trophies. for Some of them compete only two or three countries, for others challenge hundreds of countries all around the world.

Lets have a look at some of the cups:

Antim Cup is contested between the rugby union teams of Romania ("The Oaks”) and Georgia ("The Lelos"). It is named after the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan Antim Iverianul, who came from Georgia.

The Antim Cup is contested every time Georgia and Romaniameet in a senior international match BUT not at Rugby World Cup Finals and Qualifiers. The holder retains the Cup unless the challenger wins the match (no extra time whatsoever).

There was a motion from Georgia RU just before ENC 2000 decider in Tbilisi, to establish a Challenge Cup, a la Calcutta and Bledisloe Cups, which would be played for annually by Oaks and Lelos Georgian rugby folks have weighted up options and decided that the Cup should be named after whom else but reverend Antimoz Iverieli = Antim Ivirianu (c 1650 - 1716).

He introduced Romanian language into liturgy, built a couple of monasteries in Bucuresti and even became arch-bishop of Muntenia (historical region in Southern Romania).

Actually, Antim was Georgian He was abducted by Ottomans in his childhood and sold as slave but then ransomed by Partiarch of Jerusalem Albeit a great patriot of his adopting country Romania, Antim always kept tight links with Georgia (Iveria) and even founded in Tbilisi, his homeland's Capital, first print-house where the first printed Bible was produced in Georgian Both Romanian and Georgian Churches regard Antim as saint, and these days the Georgia-Romania Friendship Society was also named after him.

Last year through influential go-betweens Rugby Supporters' League (RML) of Georgia approached on the Antim Cup issue the Patriarch of Georgian Orthodox Church, ILIA THE SECOND and got His Holyness's blessing and full support.

This spring famous Georgian sculptor, himself a great rugby player of yesteryear, Gia Japaridze cast the Cup in guilded bronze and the RML will unveil it on Friday, April 5, in good time for the inaugural challenge.

The Bledisloe Cupwas donated in 1931 by the Governor-General of New Zealand, Lord Bledisloe.

Competitions for the Cup have varied from one to three matches, sometimes with three-or four-year gaps between series, but since 1982 both countries have agreed to play at least one game for the Cup annually. The Tri-Nations ensures that the nations play each other at least two times a year.

The Bledisloe Cup was first played for in 1931, when New Zealand beat Australia 20-13 in Auckland. The Cup was first won by Australia in 1934.

Bledisloe Cup Fast Facts (Mar. 1, 2004)

This will be the 144th time Australia has played New Zealand since the two teams first met in 1903. In that time, NZ has won 96 Tests, Australia has won 42 and there have been 5 draws. The Bledisloe Cup has been contested 44 times over 100 Tests matches.

New Zealand has won the Cup 32 times, while Australiahas won it 12 times (in 1934, 1949, 1979, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002). A Bledisloe Cup Test is responsible for the world record for attendance at a Rugby match.

In 2000, 109,874 people witnessed Australia and New Zealand at Stadium Australia, in what is widely regarded as one of the best Test matches ever. This is the first Bledisloe Cup Test George Gregan has missed since 1996.

Although Gregan (who has 99 Test caps) is closing in on David Campese's Australian record (101 Test caps), Campese is still the clear leader in terms of the number of Bledisloe Cup Tests played. Campese has played New Zealand29 times, followed by Tim Horan on 21, John Eales on 20 and Gregan on 19.

The Calcutta cup was presented to the RFU to be awarded for the winner of the annual England vs. Scotland international. The trophy originated in India. The Calcutta football club which had been started by former students of rugby school four years earlier had been wound up and the remaining rupees in the club's funds were melted down to be re-worked into the trophy.

The Cook cup was established in 1997 when Australia and England contracted to play each other bi-annually for 10 years, on a home and away basis. 

The cup is named after Captain James Cook representing a notable English/Australian connection. The cup is made from crystal and was designed by Royal Doulton in London.

The Gallaher Cup - France and New Zealand. (In memory of charismatic AB capt. killed during WWI).

The Hopetoun Cup was established as a perpetual trophy between Australia and Scotland in 1998. 

In the spirit of the link between the two countries, it is named after the Seventh Earl of Hopetoun, a Scotsman, who, as the then Governor-General of Australia, presided over the Federation of Australia in 1901. Like the Cook Cup, the Hopetoun Cup is crystal and was designed by Royal Doulton in London.

Established in 1999, the Lansdowne cupwas donated to the Australian Rugby Union by the Lansdowne Club of Sydney as a perpetual trophy between Australia and Ireland. 

Like the Lansdowne Club, the cup is named after Dublin's famous rugby ground and was designed and made by Waterford Crystal of Ireland. 

The Mandela Plate

Played between Australia and South Africa, this perpetual trophy was first contested in 2000 at the Colonial Stadium in Melbourne and Nelson Mandela addressed the crowd live from South Africa, via the electronic score board. 

That evening the roof of the stadium was shut, making it the world's first indoor Rugby Test.  Like the Bledisloe Cup, the Mandela trophy is contested between South Africa and Australia on a two match home and away basis within the Tri Nations Series.

The Millennium Trophy - England and Ireland.

The Puma Trophy. Established as a perpetual trophy between Argentina and Australia, the trophy is a bronzed statue of a Puma. Argentina and Australia first played against each other in 1979.

The Ranfurly shield.

In 1901, the Earl of Ranfurly, Governor of New Zealand, announced his intention of presenting a cup to the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, of which he was patron. Ranfurly made no stipulation as to what form the competition for the trophy should take, leaving the national union to decide.

The annual general meeting of the NZRFU in 1902 decided that the cup should be for competition among affiliated unions on a challenge basis, the first holder to be the union with the best record for the 1902 season.

When the trophy arrived it was found to be a shield, rather than a cup, and had obviously been designed for a soccer competition. The centre-piece was duly altered and on 13 September, 1902, the shield was presented by the Governor to G.H. Dixon, the Auckland delegate to the NZRFU.

Auckland, with an unbeaten record, was declared the first winner of the Ranfurly Shield.

The shield has since become known as the Ranfurly Shield, or Log of Wood, and is played for when the holders accept challenges from other unions, scheduling home games to defend it.

Every year, along with more fancied sides, second and third division sides are given chances to play for it. Those teams lift for the occasion, and bring thousands of supporters with them to the challenge venue to parade their colours.

The players themselves play the hardest eighty minutes of their lives, gallantly trying to achieve what should be impossible but is shown not to be every now and then, by a team who enter the rugby folklore of this country in doing so.

Six Nations

The idea of a Trophy for the Six Nations Championship was first thought of by the Earl of Westmorland, and was first presented in 1993 to France (the winners that season). It is held in trust by the Six Nations Championship Trophy Trust.

The Trophy is made of 200 ounces of sterling silver and is insured for £55,000. It was designed by James Brent-Ward, a silversmith designer, and made by eight craftsmen at the London silversmith firm William Comyns.

The inside of the Trophy was originally silver, but it became so tarnished from repeated fillings with champagne that it has been lined with 22 carat gold to protect it.

There are fifteen sides to the Trophy, representing each player, and three handles representing each official—the referee and two touch judges. Around the wooden base of the Trophy is the emblem of each of the six national unions.

The handle, or finial, on the lid is interchangeable and represents the current champions. The current champions are England so at the moment the finial is the one decorated with the English rose.

The finals of the five challenging teams are kept in a hidden drawer in the plinth throughout the Championship.

The capacity of the Trophy is exactly five bottles of champagne, one for each of the original Five Nations, and the trophy has a lip at the rim, designed so that it is easy to drink from.

The Sir Edmund Hillary Shield was crafted to commemorate the achievements of the legendary conqueror of Mt Everest, New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and will be competed for whenever England play New Zealand. Sir Hillary passed away in January 2008 aged 88.

New Zealand Captain Richie McCaw and Englandcaptain Steve Borthwick at a photo call with Lady June Hillary ahead of the game at Twickenham Nov. 29, 2008.

The Shield was designed and crafted by English trophy manufacturer Thomas Lyte Silver, who have created a number of major rugby trophies and are also responsible for the care of football's famous FA Cup and golf's Ryder Cup.

The circular shield features a centre circle with Sir Ed's head set against a backdrop of Mt Everest and the Himalayas.

The English rose and the All Blacks logo are on either side. The trophy honors Sir Edmund's lifetime of achievements as a mountaineer, adventurer, humanitarian, and as Knight of the Garter.

The Tom Richard's trophy was made for the British Lions tour to Australia in 2001 and will be contested whenever Australia and the British Lions meet.  

It was named after Tom Richards, the only Wallaby to have also been a British Lion*.  Made of crystal, it has a portrait of Tom Richards etched into the glass. 

Tom Richard's went to England with the 1908 Wallabies and later played for Gloucester which qualified him to play for the Lions. He was living in South Africa when the Lions toured there in 1910 and became a member of the team as a replacement for an injured player.

The Tri-Nations championship is held annually between the three main rugby nations in the southern hemisphere, namely Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The Tri Nations is administered by SANZAR—a co-operative venture between the South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby unions.

Despite the history of the Triple Crown there has never been a permanent trophy produced. The Trophy is a silver dish measuring 42cm wide and 5cm deep and weighing a hefty three kilos. The Trophy was produced by Hamilton and Inches of Edinburgh and took over four months to make.

Triple Crown history

The new Triple Crown Trophy was presented for the first time in 2006.

The Triple Crown has been won 59 times.

The four Home Unions have been competing against each other for 125 years, since the first international between England and Wales in 1882.

The Triple Crown was first won in 1893 when Wales became the first holders of the then mythical trophy.

Ireland are the current holders of the Triple Crown and have won it a total of seven times.

Trophéedes Bicentenaires. To celebrate the bi-centenaries of Australia and France in 1988 and 1989 respectively, the French Rugby Union donated this trophy to be played in perpetuity between the two countries.

It is a bronze sculpture featuring two players in a tackle.  Although the trophy dates from 1988, it was first contested in 1989.

Hillary Shield - England and New Zealandwill compete for a new trophy at future Test matches named in honor of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer Everest. The two teams will play for the Hillary Shield for the first time on 29 November 2008 at Twickenham. New Zealander Hillary, who died in January 2008 aged 88, conquered Everest with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

The Webb Ellis Cup

The Cup was made by Garrard's workshop in 1906. Garrards was appointed crown jeweler in 1843 by Queen Victoria. Garrard's first famous sporting trophy was the Royal Yacht Squadron's Cup presented in 1848 by the Marques of Anglesey.

It is better known as the America's Cup, from the first winner of the cup in 1851, the yacht America.

The RWC is a Victorian copy of a cup made in 1740 by the gold and silversmith Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751), whose parents, Huguenots, had fled to London and set up a shop in Soho.

The Cup is silver, gilded in gold, 38 centimeters tall with two cast scroll handles. On one there perches the head of a satyr, on the other the head of a nymph, the nymph, beautiful spirit of nature, forever safe from the randy aspirations of the goat-man. The terminals are a bearded mask, a lion mask and a vine.

It was not selected for use as the RWC trophy until February 1987.

John Kendall-Carpenter, the famous England forward and the Chairman of the Rugby World Cup and Air Commodore Bob Weighill, the secretary of the IRB and a former England forward,visited Garrard's, the crown jeweler in Regent Street, London.

Richard Jarvis, the Managing Director of the company, brought the Cup down from the vault and showed it to the two men. Eventually Ronnie Dawson of Ireland, Keith Rowlands of Wales, Bob Stuart and Dick Littlejohn of New Zealandand the Australians Nick Shehadie and Ross Turnbull approved of the choice.

They named it 'The Webb Ellis Cup'.


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