Aside from the Rugby World Cup, the Six Nations is perhaps the most prestigious competition in the sport. It is contested annually by England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and, Italy. The Six Nations presents intense rivalries between the nations and is one of the most popular and most watched of all rugby tournaments.
The Six Nations generally takes place in February of each year, and the current holders are Ireland who captured their 13th title. The winners of the Six Nations are presented with a trophy, but there are complexities involved as well. In fact, there is a lot of information you probably aren’t aware of when it comes to the Six Nations trophy. So, this is a guide that is going to look at seven little known facts about the Six Nations trophy. Knowledge of these facts will add a little bit more fun and enjoyment to your experience of watching the tournament. So check out these seven facts about the famous rugby trophy.
1. There’s More Than One Trophy
Something that a lot of people aren’t aware of is the fact that there is more than one trophy awarded. See, there is the Six Nations Championship Trophy that is awarded to the tournament winners. But then, within the competition, you need to remember that there are other competitions going on. And these each have a trophy as well. There is the Triple Crown, which is the victory by one of the ‘home nations’ (England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales) over the other three. The winner of the Triple Crown is awarded a separate trophy. Others include the Calcutta Cup, Centenary Quaich, Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy, and the Millennium Trophy. All these extra trophies add another dimension to the competition. They make things interesting even if another team has easily won the tournament.
2. No Trophy Until 1993
The first thing you might not be too familiar with is the fact that there was no physical trophy before 1993. The tournament has been contested since 1883 when it was just the home nations who played. In 1910, it changed to the Five Nations before becoming the Six Nations in 2000. There was no trophy awarded for the tournament winner until 1993. The Earl of Westmoreland originally conceived the idea of presenting a trophy. It seems bizarre that no trophy was presented before this time, but that is just how the format went. The addition of a trophy makes the competition a little bit more fierce and competitive. Having something tangible to aspire to as winners is always the best thing for any sports teams.
3. Wales Hold the Most
Something you probably wouldn’t be aware of unless you follow the tournament closely is that Wales hold the most titles. They have won the coveted trophy a total of 26 times, and 12 shared titles. England are not far off the pace with 26 titles and 10 shared wins. Then there is a considerable gap until the next team. Wales and England are normally viewed as the two strongest sides in the tournament. However, in recent years both have entered something of a transitional, rebuilding period. And Ireland have claimed the last two tournament trophies.
4. A New One Was Introduced Last Year
Another thing that you might not be aware of is that there was a new Six Nations trophy introduced only last year. The previous one was retired to mark the end of the Five Nations tournament and the fact that it has now become Six Nations. So the newer trophy symbolises the style and power of the tournament. It is designed to evoke the spirit of the Six Nations and will now contain names of winners.
5. It’s Made of Silver
Did you know that the trophy is made out of sterling silver? The original trophy was crafted by a team of eight silversmiths from London. The more recent trophy was designed by the firm Thomas Lyte, who are a global powerhouse in silver. Because of the use of silver, it gives the trophy that elegant and luxurious look to it. Gold can sometimes look a bit cheap and tacky if it’s not done perfectly. Silver on the other hand always looks fantastic and gives a great sense of awe and grandeur to the trophy.
6. 15 Panels
The old style of trophy was designed to have 15 panels on it. These panels were to represent the 15 players on each team. This is a really nice touch as it offers some sort of recognition to the players who make the tournament so great. A lot of trophies are more about the occasion than the people who take part. And that is one of the great things about the Six Nations trophy. It’s subtle little additions like this that really help make this trophy so great. This is part of the identity of the competition, so it’s a great feature to have.
7. New Design
The new design of the trophy has changed somewhat from the older design. It is slightly larger and more elegant than its predecessor. The new trophy is sleek and sophisticated and looks much better than the old trophy. One of the most important parts about the design of the new trophy is how it incorporates history. The history of the tournament is so important, and it’s vital to evoke that with the trophy. Changes to the new trophy to celebrate the heritage and history of the Six Nations are much more obvious. It has been designed in such a way as to transfer the names of all the previous winners onto the trophy. There is also space to add the names of future winners as well. This adds something more to the trophy that was missing on the previous model and makes it a little more esteemed.
So there you have it, these are seven little known facts about the coveted Six Nations trophy. Even someone with a deep knowledge and interest in rugby is unlikely to have known all of those facts. Often you will find that learning a bit more about certain areas of a sport is the best way to appreciate and enjoy that sport more. Now you’re equipped with this new knowledge about the Six Nations trophies you will understand their importance. This will help you to appreciate the enormity of the occasion and the importance of the tournament in the rugby world.