So the dust has settled on the inaugural United Rugby Championship tournament, with the Stormers celebrating a deserved first championship win over the Bulls…
I have always been a fan of the Ranfurly Shield concept. It adds an extra dimension to games, and provides an opportunity to earn some silverware where a team might not be able to over a sustained campaign.
It also adds a bit of unpredictability to proceedings where the teams in the ladders are often the usual suspects.
True there is already an additional trophy on offer for topping your conference, but imagine the following, assuming the Bulls started off with the cup after winning the 2010 edition of the competition.
Rnd 3 – Highlanders bt Bulls (2 defences)
Rnd 4 – Stormers bt Highlanders (0 defences)
Rnd 8 – Reds bt Stormers (3 defences)
Rnd 11 – Canes bt Reds (2 defences)
Rnd 12 – Blues bt Canes (0 defences)
Rnd 13 – Reds bt Blues (0 defences)
Rnd 16 – Brumbies bt Reds (1 defence)
Rnd 18 – Tahs bt Brumbies (1 defence)
Winners of the inaugural Super Rugby Challenge Cup 2011: Waratahs
Given the amount of upsets and the derbies I could imagine the Cup changing hands several times. It would also always travel with the holders to be presented and if in defeat handed over.