Six pieces of silverware the Women’s Six Nations should introduce

Women's Six Nations Trophy
The Women's Six Nations has only one trophy – the competition deserves more - Harry Trump/RFU Collection via Getty Images

Seasonal Six Nations fans are likely to be unfamiliar with the tournament’s array of cups of trophies created over the years to add more competitive spice to fixtures.

Aside from the championship trophy and the Triple Crown, the Calcutta Cup is the most well known, having been contested since 1879, making it the oldest international rugby trophy in the world.

There are a host of others now: Millennium Trophy (England v Ireland), Centenary Quaich (Ireland v Scotland), Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy (France v Italy), Auld Alliance Trophy (France v Scotland), Doddie Weir Cup (Scotland v Wales), Cuttitta Cup (Italy v Scotland)... Italy and Wales are also discussing introducing a trophy for their match each year too.

Yet while a steady stream of silverware has made its way into the men’s tournament, the trophy cupboard in the women’s championship has remained empty, with only the winners getting their hands on silverware.

There is little point in copying the men’s trophies – a Women’s Calcutta Cup, for example, would never carry the same prestige of the annual men’s fixture, which is steeped in tradition and history. But as the profile of the Women’s Six Nations evolves, is there an opportunity to honour past trailblazers of the sport with silverware? England captain Marlie Packer thinks so.

“There are loads of legends in the women’s game who have gone before us and in the future, could we make some cups and trophies for those games? Yeah, definitely,” she said.

“It’s about evolving the game and evolving the tournament with different trophies. It would be pretty cool in 10 years time to see a Marlie Packer Cup between Wales and England!”

That might not be on the table just yet, but here are Telegraph Sport’s suggestions for silverware that could be introduced to the Women’s Six Nations.

The Emily Valentine Cup – Ireland v Wales

A trophy in honour of Valentine, a 10-year-old schoolgirl who was asked to make up the numbers on a boys’ team at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, Ireland, in 1887. Her journals, in which she documented the moment she scored a try, are thought to be the earliest known record of a girl playing rugby at any level. It would be another 100 years before Ireland’s first women’s rugby club was formed.

The Paula George Trophy – England v Wales

George, a former England captain who was capped 77 times, was a figurehead of the English women’s game in the Nineties and Noughties. She grew up in a village near Bridgend and represented Wales in netball before transferring to rugby. George is in remission from ovarian cancer and last year released a book documenting the stories of trailblazing women in rugby.

Paula George
Paula George's Welsh heritage and contribution to English rugby could be commemorated appropriately - Phil Cole/Getty Images

The Nathalie Amiel Cup – France v Scotland

A teenage prodigy who made her debut for France against Great Britain aged just 15, three years after taking up the sport. The flanker/centre went on to play in three World Cups spanning more than a decade (1991, 1994 and 2002), and gave birth to her first son during her playing career too. Plus, she was part of the France coaching team at the 2010 and 2014 tournaments.

The Jim Greenwood Trophy – England v Scotland

Greenwood, who won 20 caps for Scotland and was a former British and Irish Lion, was integral to the development of women’s rugby in the 1980s, long before the female game was played on a more organised level. Greenwood, who died in 2010 aged 81, was one of the most innovative and visionary thinkers in the game. A renowned coach at Loughborough University, he developed the likes of Liza Burgess and Emma Mitchell, who would go on to captain Wales and England respectively. He also coached the Great Britain and England women’s teams in the 1980s.

Marlie Packer during the Guinness Women's Six Nations match at the Hive Stadium, Edinburgh
The clash between England and Scotland deserves its own trophy and who better to honour than Jim Greenwood? - Steve Welsh/PA Wire

The 1991 Cup – England v France

A celebration of female achievement in the face of adversity, this trophy commemorates the pioneering four women who organised the first Women’s Rugby World Cup in 1991. Sue Dorrington and three of her Richmond team-mates, Deborah Griffin, Alice Cooper and Mary Forsyth, overcame ingrained misogyny, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the challenges of motherhood to organise women’s rugby’s inaugural showpiece. England lost that year’s final to the United States after beating France in the semi-final.

The Sara Barattin Shield – Italy v France

The first Italian women’s player to reach 100 Test appearances, Barratin enjoyed a career that spanned 17 years and saw her skipper Le Azzurre during three Women’s Six Nations campaigns. She made her debut for Italy aged 18 when Le Azzurre took on Germany in April 2005 and went on to make 73 appearances in the Women’s Six Nations, a record.

Which trophies and who would you like to see honoured in next year’s Women’s Six Nations? Please make your suggestions in the comments below… 

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