Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Raeburn Shield

All the home nations are in action against Southern hemisphere sides today. I will be watching the Welsh game in South Africa just after four in the pub, but I was interested to read, yesterday in the Torygraph, about something called the Raeburn Shield in relation to the All Blacks/Ireland game. After beating the All Blacks in Dunedin, you see, Ireland are now the lineal champions of men’s Test rugby union.

Devised by Dave Algie, a product marketing manager from New Zealand now based in the United Kingdom, the Raeburn Shield is held by the lineal champions of men’s Test rugby union tracing back to Scotland’s defeat of England at Raeburn Place in 1871. (The Utretcht Shield, its name being the location of the first women’s international between the Netherlands and France, is the ladies' equivalent.)

Ireland's win last week represented the 212th time that the prize – an imaginary one, granted – has changed hands in winner-stays-on style. The All Blacks side had themselves taken it from Ireland, who had snatched it from England during the Six Nations. They had, in turn, mugged Wales, who had done the same to Scotland earlier in the tournament.

Algie came up with the idea in 2008, just after his beloved New Zealand had “screwed up another World Cup”, and his research has illuminated a rich history. There have been 12 different holders, and some intriguing twists. For instance, Romania earned the gong following a 28-24 triumph against Scotland in May 1984. Samoa did so on beating Wales at the 1999 World Cup and Japan have held it twice, in 2013 after ousting Wales and then again when they overturned Ireland six years later.

Great idea. I will follow it henceforth. Website

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