Boost Your Calcutta Cup Knowledge with our Handy Guide to the Competition’s History
When England beat Scotland by 15 – 9 at Murrayfield in February, not only was it a key moment in the team’s journey towards winning the 2016 RBS Six Nations Championship, it also ensured that they could hoist the Calcutta Cup aloft for the seventieth time at the end of the tournament.
The annual cup tie between these historic rivals has a fascinating history, but how much do you know about its origins? We’ve put together a timeline of key dates.
1872 – A History-Making Match Took Place
On Christmas Day in 1872, a group of English and Scottish rugby players took each other on in India. The match was so successful that they held another one the following week. The group established the Calcutta Football Club in January 1873.
1874 – The Calcutta Football Club Joined the RFU
The club’s members included some superb players, including several who’d played for their countries. After a prosperous first year, despite the fact that the sport wasn’t ideally suited to the country’s climate, the CFC became a member of the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
1878 – The Calcutta Football Club Closed
Unfortunately, the club’s good fortune didn’t last. Other sports, including polo, were becoming more popular in India, and the club also suffered membership losses as the result of other factors, such as the closure of its free bar. The members decided to close the club and melt down its surviving funds. They arranged for a trophy to be crafted from the silver and donated it to the RFU.
1879 – The First Calcutta Cup Tie Took Place
The RFU decided to award the trophy to the winner of an annual match between England and Scotland. The first cup competition for what’s now one of the most famous rugby trophies in the world took place on 10 March 1879 and ended in a draw.
1880 – England Became the First Cup Winners
England won the trophy in the competition’s second year, with a two goal to one win at Manchester’s Whalley Range ground.
1883 – The First Home Nations Championship Tournament Took Place
The trophy match became part of this tournament from then on. The event eventually became the Six Nations Championship.
1893 – Scotland’s Longest Ever Winning Streak Began
The Scots beat England at Headingley, Leeds, on March 4 1893, in the first of four back-to-back cup wins. England’s most impressive winning streak consisted of a run of nine wins, between 1991 and 1999.
1986 – Scotland Achieved Their Most Decisive Home Win in Cup History
Scottish fans had plenty to celebrate when the final whistle blew at Murrayfield in 1986, with their team having just sealed a 33 – 6 win against their rivals. England’s largest winning margin in a cup match so far occurred at Twickenham in 2001, when they defeated Scotland by 43 – 3.
2007 – Jonny Wilkinson Put in a Record-Breaking Performance
During England’s 42-20 win, Wilkinson racked up 27 points, beating Rob Andrew’s previous record-holding score by three, to make him the highest scoring player ever in a Calcutta Cup match.
2009 – England Started another Winning Streak
In 2016, England won the cup for the fifth time in a row. However, can they add another five back-to-back victories to their tally to achieve another record-breaking run? Only time will tell, so make sure you’re watching in 2017.