The William Webb Ellis Cup is the most prestigious trophy in rugby. Every player wants to win the trophy with their international team. Despite that, a lot of people are not aware of the history behind the Webb Ellis Cup.
What is the history of the Webb Ellis Cup? The Webb Ellis Cup was made in 1906, based on a design from 1736. In the build up to the first Rugby World Cup in 1987, the trophy was chosen and named after William Webb Ellis, the man who invented Rugby.
There is a huge amount of history around not only the Webb Ellis Cup itself, but the name of the trophy. The Webb Ellis Cup was actually made in 1906, over 80 years before the first Rugby World Cup. The trophy was made by Carrington and Co, a British jeweller based in London.
The design of the trophy is based on something created by legendary silversmith Paul de Lamerie all the way back in 1736. This design was recreated on the trophy over 150 years later. After making the trophy in 1906, not much was done with the cup. So when the organisers of the 1987 Rugby World Cup were looking for a trophy, it suited what they were looking for perfectly.
In preparation for the tournament, a replica was made in 1986. So there are now two trophies, the original from 1906 and the replica from 1986. That is not all of the history of the cup. Having found the trophy, they needed to find a name that suited the prestige and honour associated with winning the Rugby World Cup.
Eventually the organisers settled on calling the trophy the William Webb Ellis Cup. Rugby fans should be pretty familiar with who William Webb Ellis is. The story about how rugby was invented is filled with legend and some questionable stories.
Well the story is that in a football game at the Rugby school in Warwickshire in the 1820s, student William Webb Ellis picked up the football and ran with it in his hands. This is credited with creating the game of rugby, as it did develop from the school which Webb Ellis attended.
The story is part of rugby folklore now, as there has been a lot of evidence that it was not Webb Ellis who invented the sport. The story of Webb Ellis picking up the ball and running with it was only reported after Webb Ellis had died and after the sport had become a lot more successful.
Despite that, the Rugby World Cup organisers still decided that Webb Ellis was the best person to name the trophy after. So this is why the trophy for winning the Rugby World Cup became known as the William Webb Ellis Cup.
How did the Webb Ellis Cup get its name?
The William Webb Ellis Cup Is the most prestigious trophy in rugby. It is the trophy awarded to the team who won the Rugby World Cup. So how did the Webb Ellis Cup get its name?
The Webb Ellis Cup is named after William Webb Ellis, the man credited with creating the game of rugby. The story of how rugby was invented is based on Rugby School student William Webb Ellis. When Webb Ellis was involved in a game of football, the story is that he picked the ball up and ran with it in his hands.
This is how Rugby was invented or at least that is the story most believe is associated with the invention of rugby. There has been a lot of evidence published to show that the story is more of a legend rather than a factual representation of how the sport was created.
Despite that, there was no better option to name the Rugby World Cup trophy after than William Webb Ellis. He is a crucial figure in rugby history and so naming the cup after him makes a huge amount of sense.
Who currently holds the Webb Ellis Cup?
The William Webb Ellis Cup is the trophy awarded to the winners of the Rugby World Cup. So which team are the holders of the trophy at the moment.
South Africa are the current holders of the Webb Ellis Cup. In 2019, the Springboks began their tournament with a loss to New Zealand. Despite that, they still made it to the quarterfinals and eventually all the way to the final where they faced off against England in a repeat of the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final.
The result was the same, with South Africa lifting the Webb Ellis Cup after the 80 minutes had passed. Therefore, South Africa have been the holders of the Webb Ellis Cup for the last four years. There is a chance that the holders of the trophy will change in 2023.
The 2023 Rugby World Cup means there is a high chance that there will be a new holder of the Webb Ellis Cup. If South Africa win the tournament, then they will remain the holders of the Webb Ellis Cup. But if any other team wins the tournament, then they become the holders of the Webb Ellis Cup.
How many Webb Ellis cups are there?
Most major sporting trophies have various replicas along with the original. So is that the case for the Webb Ellis Cup?
There are officially two Webb Ellis Cups. The original cup was built in 906 by London jewellers Carrington and Co. The original design is based on a similar design from the 1700s. But when World Rugby chose that trophy to be the one awarded to the team who wins the Rugby World Cup, they knew more than one trophy was needed.
So, a replica was made in 1986, a year prior to the first Rugby World Cup. Having two means that World Rugby can keep the original safe while still being able to display and use the replica. It is also much safer to have two Cups rather than one.