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1871 is the most important of the dates in terms of rugby. One hundred and fifty years ago, the English and Scots clashed to give birth to international rugby. An event that both nations will celebrate for their first match at the 6 Nations tournament this year. On this occasion, each federation has planned a jersey that symbolizes the oldest rivalry in world rugby. Back to the core of this rivalry.

Establishment of English federation, birth certificate of international rugby

As we know, theEngland Rugby is its birthplace. It is in this country that rugby was born during the first part of the 19th century. It originates from the center’s college of rugby cityEngland, And then spread to many British universities. Gradually the clubs developed from the 1840s. By 1871, rugby was completely unstructured. In fact, there is no regulation that fixes all authorized regulations and practices. In short, each club has its own rules, which will quickly become problematic. In addition, rugby has a poor reputation. It is a very dangerous sport in which injuries are rather severe.

On January 26, 1871, representatives of about twenty English clubs met at a bar in London. They aim for structure, after all, this discipline. this much Rugby football union (RFU), the first rugby federation, is established. The rules are eventually standardized. The licensees of the new federation will have to pay a membership fee of five shillings per year. The rest of the British nation will follow this example after a few years. For example, the first federation was established in Scotland in 1873.

Raeburn Place hosts the first international rugby match in history

Finally strong in structuring its local rugby, the English federation wants to create a national selection to face foreign teams. Two months later, it picks twenty of the best players, among its licensees, to face a Scottish selection in Scotland. On March 27, in Edinburgh, on the lawn Raibaran Place, Scots and English play the first international match in rugby history. Obviously, much better structured, English favorites start.

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However, the argument is not respected. In fact, Scott eventually wins and it is a successful change that makes the difference. A little anecdote, for Scottish Angus Buchanan The first attempt scorer in the history of international rugby. In 150 years, the two nations have met 138 times. The British have won 76 times, the Scots 43 times and 19 draws. Enough to build a great rivalry.

Premier Match International – Via Ruknmul

Calcutta Cup, Oldest Rugby Trophy

If the two nations meet each year as part of the tournament, matches always have a special flavor. This stake goes beyond the profile of the tournament and is enhanced through the trophy. This is the trophy Calcutta Cup. When Britain ruled the world, Bharat was a gem. In 1872, in Calcutta, the capital of colonial India, a British infantry regiment established the Calcutta Football Club. During a match, the selection of the best British players is followed by the selection of the best Scottish, Welsh and Irish players. The event is a huge success. For a short time, rugby is developing in India, although it is not going to last. In addition, the club survives only five years.

Before the club disappears, the CFC requests the Treasurer Rugby football unionThrough a letter. He wants to use the last fund to make the trophy. The federation accepts and decides that it will be awarded to the winner of the confrontation between the English and the Scottish. For his part, the treasurer goes to a goldsmith in Calcutta. He gives her a silver of 270 rupees (which was left in the cash register of the club) and melts the goldsmith’s money. The latter makes a silver cup, which has an elephant and three cobra-shaped hangings on its lid. The Calcutta Cup was born.

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The first match of the Calcutta Cup, which took place in 1879, ended in a draw. Hence the trophy was first awarded in 1880 after the English victory. Since 1988, the trophy has been held at the World Rugby Museum in London. It is a replica of the oldest rugby trophy awarded to the winner of the Calcutta Cup for 33 years.

Flower of Scotland, Scottish Rebellion

In 150 years of history, we have time to experience memorable matches and stories. By 1990, both teams sang the same bhajan before starting the meetings. The God Save the Queen Is in one go. In 1990, Scott no longer wanted to sing a hymn that did not present him well enough. To show their detachment from English, the Scots sing a new hymn. It comes from a song from the Scottish folk group The chorus And dates from 1967. This song is called Scotland flower. It is a song in honor of Bancorn’s Scottish victory, during the first Scottish War of Independence in the early 14th century. As you expect, it is quite a sensitive and hostile song towards England.

The game’s stake is important, as it is the tournament and Grand Slam victories that are at stake. In addition, English is widely preferred. Against all expectations, the XV du Chardon won this meeting. Thirty-one years later, the song of Scotland flower Six Nations remains one of the most beautiful moments of the tournament, especially when it is sung at Murrayfield, which is more against the English. This hymn gave a new relief to the rivalry.

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Today, what does this rivalry mean?

In the 1990s and 2000s, as well as the early 2010s, meetings were very unbalanced. Also, the Scots have not won at Twickenham since 1983. In recent years, the Scots have received color. We remember this win at Murrayfield in 2018, while the Scots lost eight in a row against XV de la Rose. In 2019, we remember this anthology draw on Twenheim, during which the Scots came close to an outstanding feat. Politically, tensions have also increased again. If the Scots did not want a referendum on the question of the independence of the United Kingdom in 2014, then the music seems completely different at the moment. Indeed, Brexit has changed the game. Today, stress has never been so high.

To celebrate 150 years of the oldest rivalry in international rugby, two unions have chosen to mark the occasion. The old jersey will be worn by both teams for the 139th meeting between the two countries. We would have liked supporters to be part of the party.

Alexandre Jeffroy


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