Rugby is one of the most popular outdoor sports in the world today. The Rugby Union is one of the most prominent administrative bodies in the world of rugby. Apart from numerous local and national level tournaments, the Rugby Union also hosts the esteemed Rugby World Cup (RWC) every four years.
The Rugby World Cup trophy is also known as the “Webb Ellis Cup”, in honor of the inventor of the sport of rugby. The Webb Ellis Cup is one of the most anticipated and popular sporting events amongst the nations comprising of the Rugby Union board.
What is Webb Ellis Cup?
The Webb Ellis Cup trophy is a beautifully made of silver gilt. The trophy cup stands around 38 cm tall and weighs about 4.5 kg. It has two intricately carved- cast scroll handles. One of the handles has the head of a nymph while the other handle has the head of a satyr at the top.
The front of the trophy cup is engraved with the arched title “International Rugby Football Board” on its face. The words “The Webb Ellis Cup” are emblazoned under the arched title.
Apart from being known as the Rugby World Cup (RWC) trophy and the Webb Ellis Cup, it is also often called the “Webb Ellis Trophy”, which is not exactly accurate, and has also been called simply as “Bill” by 1991 RWC winner, Wallabies, the Australian national rugby union team.
History of Webb Ellis Cup
The history of the Webb Ellis Cup is equally intriguing and fascinating.
The Webb Ellis Cup was awarded for the first time to the winners of the 1987 Rugby World Cup, which was the first international rugby football event organized for a world cup rugby tournament. However, the first Webb Ellis Cup was commissioned and made over 80 years earlier.
Officially, there are two separate trophies used for awarding the winners of the Webb Ellis Cup. These are used in every alternate tournament of the Rugby World Cup. The first Webb Ellis Cup trophy was made in 1906 by London-based Carrington and Co. inspired by Paul de Lamiere’s designed 1740s trophy. The recent trophy is a replica of the original one.
The Webb Ellis Cup trophy was selected by John Kendall-Carpenter and Bob Weighill, the former being the organizer of the first RWC and the latter being a secretary of the International Rugby Board apart from both of them being former forward players for the England rugby union men’s team. It was chosen and bought from the prestigious Garrard & Co., the official crown jewelers of London.
The Webb Ellis Cup was first used in February of 1987 after being approved by prominent rugby players from different teams. Soon, it was renamed the Webb Ellis Cup and New Zealand became the proud team to first hold aloft the esteemed trophy after winning the 1987 Rugby World Cup.
Till today, the Webb Ellis Cup has been held by four teams – England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Coincidentally, the current holders of the Webb Ellis Cup are also New Zealand, as they won the 2015 Rugby World Cup finals, held in England.