Triple Crown (rugby union)


Triple Crown (rugby union)

In rugby union, the Triple Crown is an honour contested annually by the national teams of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales as part of the Six Nations Championship. If any one team manages to win all their games against the other three then they win the Triple Crown.This was most recently achieved by Wales in the 2008 competition.

The Six Nations Championship also involves France and Italy, but they do not take part in the Triple Crown.

Unlike the Grand Slam, the triple crown winners will not necessarily be the tournament winners. This happened most recently in 2007 as Ireland won the triple crown, but France were the tournament winners. In 2004, Ireland were triple crown winners and France were Grand Slam winners.

Two teams have achieved the triple crown 4 years consecutively: Wales 1976 - 1979, and England 1995 - 1998. No other teams have won the triple crown more than twice in a row.

Name

No-one is sure what the origins of the name 'Triple Crown' are. The "Irish Times" has the first recorded use of the term in its introduction to the newspapers Ireland v Wales match report on Monday, 12 March 1894:

"After long years of seemingly hopeless struggle Ireland has achieved the triple crown honours of Rugby football. For the first time in the annals of the game have the Hibernians proved beyond cavil or doubt their right to be dubbed champions of the nations and that the Irishmen fully deserve the great distinction no one will deny … Hurrah for Hibernia!"

The name presumably derives from the fact that the winners will have beaten all the nations of the United Kingdom, which is composed of the Kingdom of Ireland (now only Northern Ireland), the Kingdom of Scotland, the Kingdom of England and the Principality of Wales, i.e. three kingdoms.

Trophy

In 1975 a retired miner by the name of Dave Merrington from South Hetton, County Durham got to work with his penknife and turned a lump of coal hewn from the Haig Colliery in Cumbria into a surprisingly ornate work. It has a crown sitting on a four-sided base on which are represented a rose, a shamrock, a thistle and the Prince of Wales feathers. It is kept in the Museum of Rugby at Twickenham.

As no trophy was historically awarded for winning the Triple Crown, it was often called 'the invisible cup'. However, in 2006, the primary sponsor of the competition, the Royal Bank of Scotland, commissioned a trophy to be awarded to Triple Crown winners. The award, a silver dish known as the Triple Crown Trophy, was contested for the first time in the 2006 Six Nations. Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll claimed the trophy for Ireland at Twickenham on March 18 after a last-minute try from Shane Horgan gave Ireland a 28-24 win over England.

Winners

ee also

* Six Nations Championship
* Grand Slam
* Calcutta Cup
* Millennium Trophy
* Wooden spoon
* England national rugby union team
* Ireland national rugby union team
* Scotland national rugby union team
* Wales national rugby union team

External links

* [http://www.rugbyrugby.com/TOURNAMENTS/Six_Nations/Tournament_News/story_48582.shtml "Triple Crown becomes tangiable (sic)"] , RugbyRugby.com, 25 January 2006
* [http://www.six-nations-rugby.co.uk/ Official Six Nations Site]
* [http://www.rbs.com/content/media_centre/press_releases/2006/january/images/pic_triple_crown_trophy.jpgLink to image of Triple Crown Trophy]


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