The History of the Webb Ellis Cup


(11/17/03, From




RWC Cup crafted in 1906

Either Martin Johnson or George Gregan will brandish aloft the Rugby World Cup. On its face is engraved 'The International Rugby Board' and below that arch the name of the trophy: 'The Webb Ellis Cup'. The Cup is quite a bit older than the World Cup. The Rugby World Cup was first played in 1987 but the Cup itself, the actual trophy, was fashioned in 1906 and chosen in February 1987 as a suitable trophy for the World Cup to be played in New Zealand and Australia in May and June that year.

John Kendall-Carpenter, the famous England forward and the Chairman of the Rugby World Cup and Air Commodore Bob Weighill, the secretary of the IRB and a former England forward, went round to Garrard, the crown jeweller in Regent Street, London - a fashionable place indeed.

Richard Jarvis, the Managing Director of the company, brought the Cup down from the vault and showed it to the two men. Eventually Ronnie Dawson of Ireland, Keith Rowlands of Wales, Bob Stuart and Dick Littlejohn of New Zealand and the Australians Nick Shehadie and Ross Turnbull approved of the choice. They named it 'The Webb Ellis Cup'.

The Cup was crafted on Garrard's workshop in 1906, a Victorian version of a cup fashioned in 1740 by the gold and silversmith Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751), whose parents, Huguenots, had fled to London and set up a shop in Soho.

The Cup is silver gilded in gold, 38 centimetres tall with two cast scroll handles. On one there perches the head of a satyr, on the other the head of a nymph, the nymph, beautiful spirit of nature, forever safe from the randy aspirations of the goat-man. The terminals are a bearded mask, a lion mask and a vine.

Garrard's dates back to the first half of the 18th century and had royal connections from its beginning. In 1792 Robert Garrard, originally an apprentice at the company became a partner and then took control of the business.

In 1843 Queen Victoria appointed Garrard's Crown Jewellers, as they still are. One of their stressful tasks was the recutting of the Koh-i-Noor.

Its first famous sporting trophy was the Royal Yacht Squadron's Cup presented in 1848 by the Marques of Anglesey. It is better known as the America's Cup, from the first winner of the cup in 1851, the yacht America..

The firm moved to its Regent Street premises in the Fifties after Henry Garrard died and with him the Garrard line. Garrard's amalgamated with the Goldsmiths' and Silversmiths' Company, founded in 1898, but retained the Garrard name.


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