A FED-up Scottish rugby fan landed the unwanted job of hand-delivering the Calcutta Cup to the victorious English team.
Driver Graham McEwan had to drive the 133-year-old trophy from Murrayfield to Twickenham after the Scots suffered a home defeat to their oldest rivals.
After the 400 mile trek south he still managed to joke: “I’ve just become the man who handed the Calcutta Cup to the English. Now I know how Dan Parks must’ve felt.”
Parks was criticised for his poor performance in the opening match of the Six Nations against the Auld Enemy – and announced his immediate retirement from international rugby shortly after the weekend disappointment.
While many fans believe Parks played a central role in ensuring the Rugby world’s oldest trophy went to the English, it was Graham McEwan who actually made the delivery.
As Scotland’s biggest independent courier company with a fleet of more than 100 vehicles across the country, Eagle Couriers has often been tasked to ensure important silverware is moved safely from venue to venue.
Graham added: “This is the first time we’ve been asked to transport the Calcutta Cup, so it’s a real shame I had to make the journey the wrong way round.”
During Thursday’s handover, the priceless trophy, handmade by Indian craftsmen at the height of British colonial power in the sub-continent, was sealed in its protective travel box and collected from Scottish Rugby Union HQ in Edinburgh and driven to Twickenham in London.
Every year during the six nations, the winner of the grudge match between Scotland and England claims the cup. However, because of the delicate condition of the trophy it is now in too fragile to be shown at functions or to go on tour and is rarely transported.
The rugby world is still reeling from the antics of the English rugby team at last year’s World Cup in New Zealand, which saw several players reprimanded for their behaviour including the Queen’s grandson-in-law, Mike Tindall.
Scottish legend John Jeffrey and England’s Dean Richards earned infamy in 1988 when they used the cup as a football on Princes Street along with other drunken players. Both were handed hefty bans from the game, with Jeffrey sidelined for six months.
Now both the English and Scottish Rugby Unions have full-sized modern replicas of the distinctive, 18 inch trophy, which has three finely-engraved King Cobras forming the handles and an elephant on the lid.
Graham added: “Needless to say we handle any package with the utmost respect – but this was a job which warranted the most special care and I didn’t leave the vehicle at any time, even during brief rest stops.”
England have won more than half of the Calcutta Cup encounters and after Thursday’s delivery by Jerry, the trophy will follow English tradition and go on public display on a specially-built, revolving trophy cabinet in Twickenham’s Museum of Rugby.