Why is it called the Bledisloe Cup?

Rugby is a very historic sport, with many of the best competitions in the world being created more than a hundred years ago. These competitions are often a great way to show off some of rugby’s best rivalries, with the Bledisloe Cup being one of the best and most historic competitions. 

Why is it called the Bledisloe Cup? The Bledisloe Cup is named after Lord Bledisloe who was the Governor General of New Zealand from 1930 to 1935. Lord Bledisloe was the first person to award a trophy to the winner of the ongoing rugby competition between Australia and New Zealand. 

Australia and New Zealand have been playing against each other since 1903, with New Zealand winning the first-ever game between the two teams. The two teams would continue playing against each other for the next three decades as one country would usually tour the other every year or few years.

For the first three decades, there was no name between the competition between the two teams despite playing almost every year. That was until the intervention of Charles Bathurst who was the Governor-General of New Zealand. When Bathurst was appointed as Night Commander of the Order of the British Empire, he became known as Baron Bledisloe. 

Bledisloe was very well-liked in his time in New Zealand as he helped the country recover during the Depression era. Bledisloe was always interested in his sports, promoting many different causes during his time in New Zealand, mainly through the presentation of trophies. 

The competition of New Zealand and Australia playing against each other was one that had been going on for three decades by this point, but a trophy had never been awarded to the winner. The first time that a trophy was awarded to the winner was 1932 and the competition was subsequently named after Bledisloe. 

Bledisloe Cup results 2022

Australia and New Zealand played each other twice in 2022 to decide the Bledisloe Cup. New Zealand won the series 2-0 after winning both of the games that were in Australia. 

The Bledisloe Cup began with New Zealand travelling down to Melbourne as part of the Rugby Championship. The first game between the two was an absolute classic. New Zealand took a commanding lead in the game after four tries within the first 55 minutes, with all of them being converted. 

But Australia produced a phenomenal 15-minute turnaround with some great, physical tries. Andrew Kellaway scored twice in six minutes before Pete Samu gave Bernard Foley the chance to tie the game with his conversion, which he nailed. With just three minutes left, Nic White nailed a penalty to give Australia the lead. 

But New Zealand continued to fight on and they were given a massive piece of luck when they were given a scrum five metres out after Mathieu Raynal adjudged Bernard Foley to have taken too long to take the penalty the Australian defence had won. New Zealand piled on the pressure after the scrum and eventually, Jordie Barrett found space on the wing to score the winner. 

It was a heartbreaking result for the Wallabies after they had been so close to taking a step towards winning the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002. In the second game, it was nowhere near as close back in Auckland. 

The home fans got to watch their team beat Australia 40-14 thanks to tries from Will Jordan, Sam Whitelock, Cody Taylor and Samisoni Taukei’aho as well as a penalty try. It meant that New Zealand retained the Bledisloe Cup, winning the title for the 50th time. 

When did the Wallabies last win the Bledisloe Cup? 

New Zealand have dominated the Bledisloe Cup over the last two decades. The last time that Australia won the Bledisloe Cup was all the way back in 2002. In 2002, Australia lost the first game between the two teams in New Zealand. But back in Sydney, they defeated New Zealand 16-14. 

This meant that the series was tied and so the Bledisloe Cup is retained by the team who had won it the previous year. In 2001, Australia had defeated New Zealand twice to win the Bledisloe Cup and so they retained the trophy a year later thanks to the drawn series. Since then, Australia have failed to win the Bledisloe Cup despite beating New Zealand multiple times in the last couple of decades. 

The issue for Australia is that they have not been able to win two games in a row against New Zealand as this is what is required to take the trophy off of the current holders. 

When was the first Bledisloe Cup? 

There is actually some controversy as to when the very first Bledisloe Cup took place. For the Australian Rugby Union, they believe that the first competition was in 1931 when there was a one-off game between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park. The issue for the ARU is that there is very little record of the game. 

The only confirmed record of the match is the recorded minutes of the New Zealand Union management meeting a few days after the game, which is where Lord Bledisloe suggested that he wanted to give a trophy to the winner between the two teams.

As this was when the first trophy was awarded, the New Zealand Rugby Union says that 1932 was the first time that the Bledisloe Cup was played. 

Who won the first Bledisloe Cup?

While the Australian Rugby Union believes the first Bledisloe Cup was in 1931, most people would agree that the first Bledisloe Cup was the three-game series in 1932 when New Zealand toured Australia which was a common occurrence in the early 20th century. 

Australia actually won the very first game of that series, taking a 1-0 lead thanks to a 22-17 win at the Sydney Cricket Ground. But over the next two games, New Zealand would win both comfortably despite both games being played in Australia. New Zealand won the series 2-1 and so they won the very first Bledisloe Cup. 

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