The Calcutta Cup is awarded to the winners of the annual Rugby Union clash between Scotland and England and dates back to 1872.
Of unceasing torment to those north of the border, England have enjoyed the lions share of the victories, winning 55% of the ties compared to Scotland’s 34%. Draws have made up the remaining 12%.
Regardless of how either teams performs during the Six Nations Championship each year, the Calcutta Cup encounter always holds special appeal for rugby fans the world over and brings out the best – and worst – in the national sides.
10 Facts about the Calcutta Cup
- England are current holders having beaten Scotland 26-12 on 21st March 2009 at Twickenham.
- The first match was played in Edinburgh (Raeburn Place) on 10th March 1879 and ended in a draw.
- The tie dates back to Calcutta in 1874 during the days of the Raj when Englishmen challenged a conglomerate of Welsh, Irish and Scots to a game of rugby.
- The Calcutta club’s free bar was discontinued in 1878 resulting in an immediate downturn in the game’s popularity.
- Silver rupees were withdrawn from club coffers and melted down to make the cup when polo and tennis overtook rugby’s popularity in India. The cup was then presented to the RFU in 1878.
- The cup is 18 inches tall, intricately engraved and has three king cobras forming the handles. An elephant is atop the domed lid.
- The fragility of the original trophy means a replica is awarded to the winning team with the original remaining at the Museum of Rugby, Twickenham.
- It was officially contested for in 1879 but an anomaly on the plinth reads 1871.
- John Jeffrey kicked the cup along Edinburgh’s Princes Street during a drunken revelry in 1988, resulting in a one month ban.
- Scotland are next to host England on 21st March 2010, at Murrayfield Stadium.