The Maddening Mastery: How the All Blacks Triumphed over Argentina for the Raeburn Cuprugby,AllBlacks,Argentina,RaeburnCup,sports,competition
The Maddening Mastery: How the All Blacks Triumphed over Argentina for the Raeburn Cup

The Maddening Mastery: How the All Blacks Triumphed over Argentina for the Raeburn Cup

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All Blacks v Argentina: How Ian Foster’s men bagged the Raeburn Shield, the ‘oldest’ title in world rugby

By Te Ahikaa Trotman, Te Rito journalism cadet

20 Oct, 2023 03:53 AM

3 mins to read

The All Blacks continue their pursuit of a fourth Rugby World Cup title, and their latest victory over Ireland has earned them an additional accolade – the Raeburn Shield. Considered the ‘oldest’ title in world rugby, the Raeburn Shield follows a unique linear format, similar to a boxing championship. The teams that hold the shield must defend it in every game they play, and the only way to obtain it is by beating the current title holders. The All Blacks, along with the Black Ferns in the women’s game, will now be defending both titles.

The Origin of the Raeburn Shield

The concept of the shield was created in 2008 by a group of rugby enthusiasts, one of whom was Dunedin-born Dave Algie. The idea was born out of the disappointment experienced after the All Blacks’ loss to France in the 2007 World Cup quarter-final. Algie and his fellow rugby fans sought a better way to determine rugby‘s champion and came up with the idea of tracing the title back to the first international match ever played.

In an interview, Algie shared his inspiration behind the creation of the Raeburn Shield, saying, “I was on an online rugby forum, and there was a bunch of us where we were like, this is awful, there has to be a better way. And that was when we came up with the idea of tracing right back to the start from when we did this as a lineal title.”

Since its inception, Algie has maintained a website dedicated to preserving the mythos of the Raeburn Shield and ensuring its relevance in the world of rugby.

The Meaning Behind the Name

The Raeburn Shield takes its name from the venue of the first men’s international match, which was played at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh in 1871. This historic clash took place between Scotland and England, marking the beginning of international rugby. Similarly, the first women’s international match took place at Utrecht in the Netherlands in 1982, and the women’s version of the shield is referred to as the Utrecht Shield.

The Journey of the Raeburn Shield

The All Blacks recently reclaimed the Raeburn Shield from Ireland after having handed it to them last June during a series defeat. Dave Algie explained, “Ireland brought over the Raeburn Shield in that series, having won it in the Six Nations. They lost it in the first match to NZ. So as soon as you win it, you have to defend it, so Ireland took it back in match two and kept it in match three. They hadn’t let go of it because they hadn’t lost until this quarter-final.”

Algie’s intention in maintaining the shield’s history and tracking its journey is to provide rugby fans with an additional element of excitement and interest during the four years between Rugby World Cup tournaments. He believes that the Raeburn Shield enhances the world of rugby for fans, players, and everyone involved.

Editorial and Advice

The Raeburn Shield is a fascinating addition to the world of rugby, adding historical significance and a touch of mystique to the game. While it may not hold official recognition by the governing bodies of the sport, it undeniably captures the imagination of fans and sparks spirited debates. The linear format of the shield ensures that every game carries added significance, and each victory adds to the legacy of the title. It is a testament to the passion and creativity of rugby enthusiasts like Dave Algie that such unique elements are brought to the fore.

For rugby fans, the Raeburn Shield offers an opportunity to delve into the history of the sport and explore the connections between teams and eras. It serves as a reminder that rugby is not just about individual matches or tournaments, but about the enduring lineage of the game and the ongoing rivalries that define it.

While the Raeburn Shield may not have the same level of prestige as the Rugby World Cup itself, it is a reminder that there is more to rugby than major tournaments. The shield adds a layer of excitement and intrigue to the sport, especially during the four-year gap between World Cups, providing fans with a continual narrative and something to anticipate between international competitions.

As the All Blacks and Black Ferns defend the Raeburn Shield and the Utrecht Shield, rugby fans can celebrate not only the triumphs and defeats of individual matches but also revel in the continuation of a longstanding tradition. The shields are symbols of the enduring spirit of competition and the rich history of the game.

In a world that is constantly changing, the Raeburn Shield is a reminder that some things remain constant. The passion, dedication, and love for rugby are timeless, and the shield serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of this beloved sport.


The Maddening Mastery: How the All Blacks Triumphed over Argentina for the Raeburn Cup
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G'day, mates! I'm Greg Buckley, and I've been reporting here in the land Down Under for the last 15 years. I'm all about sports and culture, so if there's a footy match or an art exhibit, you'll likely see me there. Let's give it a burl together, Australia!

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