The Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle event in the rugby calendar, where the world's best teams come together to compete for the ultimate prize – the Webb Ellis Cup. However, there is an interesting fact surrounding this prestigious trophy that many fans may not be aware of – there are actually two Webb Ellis Cups.
The Webb Ellis Cup: A Symbol of Rugby Excellence
The Rugby World Cup trophy, known as the Webb Ellis Cup, is named in honor of William Webb Ellis, the man credited with inventing rugby when he picked up a ball and ran with it during a game of football in 1823 at Rugby School in England. The trophy was first awarded to New Zealand, the winners of the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.
The Webb Ellis Cup is made of gilded silver and features a detailed design of a 19th-century rugby scene, complete with players and goalposts. It stands 38 centimeters tall and weighs approximately 4.5 kilograms.
The Twin Trophy: Unveiling the Webb Ellis Cup's Replica
The existence of two Webb Ellis Cups is not widely known, but the second trophy plays a vital role in rugby's showcase event. The original Webb Ellis Cup is kept in pristine condition and is only brought out for the Rugby World Cup final match, where it is awarded to the winning team.
To ensure the safety and preservation of the original trophy, a replica was created to be used for promotional events, sponsor engagements, and other appearances throughout the four-year cycle between World Cups. This identical twin trophy, known as the "working model," is virtually indistinguishable from the original and travels extensively in the lead-up to the tournament.
The Role of the Twin Trophy in the Rugby World Cup
The replica Webb Ellis Cup enables rugby's governing body, World Rugby, to promote the sport and the Rugby World Cup without risking damage or wear to the original trophy. The twin trophy has become a symbol of the global reach of rugby, as it is taken on tour to various countries and engages with fans across the world.
The tale of the two Webb Ellis Cups is a fascinating fun fact that highlights the importance of preserving and protecting rugby's most prestigious prize. The existence of the twin trophy ensures that the original Webb Ellis Cup remains in pristine condition for the winning team to hoist in victory, while the replica travels the world, inspiring and connecting with rugby fans. This intriguing story adds an extra layer of mystique to the already captivating world of rugby.