One Competition - So Many Trophies!
The Six Nations is one of the most important championships within the game of Rugby. Although each team ultimately wants to win the Championship Trophy, there are also other trophies they are battling for throughout the competition. Some of these have historical importance, others are just for fun and some are best avoided! Here's a quick guide to the main trophies on offer in 2013.
The Championship Trophy
This trophy is presented to the overall winners of the Six Nations. Relatively new to the competition, it was first presented in 1993, by the Earl of Westmorland. Valued at £55,000, the trophy was designed by James Brent-Ward. Created from sterling silver, it has a protective inner coating of 22 carat gold. Able to hold up to five bottles of champagne it's certainly the party trophy!
The trophy itself is an homage to the Six Nations; it consists of fifteen side panels (representing each member of the winning team), three handles representing the three officials for the match and a concealed drawer in the mahogany base containing six screw-on emblems for each team in the competition. These silver finials are attached to the lid for the winning team.
Triple Crown Trophy
Going back to the days of the original incarnation of the Six Nations as the 'Home Nations Championship', this trophy can only be awarded to England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales. To win this, the triumphant team must win all three of its matches against the other 'Home Nation' teams. Although the informal title of the Triple Crown has been around since 1894, the actual trophy itself was only introduced in 2006. For many years it was known as the 'invisible cup'.
The first trophy fashioned for the award was invented in 1975, by Dave Merrington. As a former miner, he created the cup from a lump of coal on a four-sided base, adorned with a crown, a rose, a shamrock, a thistle and the Prince of Wales feathers. For those interested in seeing this part of Rugby history, it is currently on display in the world-famous Museum of Rugby within Twickenham Stadium. The current trophy was created in 2006 by Hamilton and Inches, commissioned by the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The England team were the original title holders in 1883 (before the 'Triple Crown' term was even coined), the current (2012 season) holders of the trophy is Wales. Due to the trophy being awarded to one of the original Home Nations teams, the winner of this trophy does not have to be the overall winner of the Six Nations. Of the 116 competitions held since 1883, there have been 63 Triple Crown winners.
Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy
The Garibaldi Trophy is competed for by France and Italy. A very recent addition to the competition, it was introduced in 2007 for the bicentennial of Giuseppe Garibaldi's birth. Garibaldi was born in Nice in 1807 (then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia) and went on to become a well-known revolutionary and one of the fathers of the unified Italy. He also fought for France during the Franco-Prussian war.
The Garibaldi Trophy was designed and created by the sculptor Jean-Pierre Rives - formerly a French international himself. As of this year, it has been won by France five times and Italy once.
This award is given to either Ireland or Scotland. The cup itself has only been awarded since 1989, although Ireland Scotland have played each other 122 times since the competition began. As of 2012, Ireland are the current holders, having beaten Scotland 32-14 in Dublin.
The Quaich is actually a traditional Celtic drinking vessel. It is pronounced "quake", from the Gaelic word "cuach". Traditionally a Scottish welcoming/farewell utensil, it was used for whisky and brandy.
The Calcutta Cup
One of the more historical trophies up for grabs during the Six Nations is the much sought-after Calcutta Cup. Competed for by England and Scotland, it's origins go all the way back to 1879 and India. In 1874 the unsuccessful Calcutta Rugby Football Club disbanded, but its members wanted to continue it's name for future generations. They decided to melt down what was left of the club's funds (in the form of silver rupees) and create a cup to be awarded annually.
Completely of Indian origin, the 18-inch high cup stands on a wooden base with the inscription 'The Calcutta Cup'. Finely engraved, it includes three cobras as handles and an elephant decorating the domed lid. On the base, it is adorned with plates that carry details of previous winners and dates. Unfortunately, due to heavy misuse and drunken antics by certain players, the original is in a fragile condition and cannot go on tours or attend functions. When in the possession of the England team, it is safely housed within Twickenham's Museum of Rugby.
Contested annually between England and Ireland, this trophy is also relevantly new to the Six Nations Championship - only being introduced in 1988. Originally conceived to celebrate the millennial of Dublin. Donated by Digital, the trophy stands out from the rest by being in the shape of a horned Viking helmet.
If you're interested in seeing these trophies and the battles that are waged to win them, why not try a Six Nations Rugby Package?