Is it just me, or are there now a ridiculous number of trophy presentations during the Six Nations?
Once upon a time (which I hesitate to refer to as the "good old days" for fear of sounding like a bitter old fart) you didn't even get anything for winning the whole championship, not even if you had secured the coveted Grand Slam - just a "well done," a slap on the back and a place in history. And the one trophy that was presented every year since 1880, the Calcutta Cup, ended up bruised and battered after doubling up as a rugby ball during an impromptu skirmish between Dean Richards and John Jeffery on Edinburgh's Princes Street back in 1988.
Nowadays you can't move for trophy presentations - not only is there now a trophy for winning the championship (which, I guess, is fair enough), but there's also a trophy for winning the previously ethereal Triple Crown, there's the Millennium Trophy awarded to the winners of the annual Ireland v England clash and, since 2007, there's now the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy awarded to the winner of the annual match between France and Italy. It seems that there's barely a game goes by in the championship these days without the winners being presented with some meaningless prize to parade about.
Of course, this trophy obsession isn't just limited to the Six Nations. We all know about the Bledisloe Cup, competed for by New Zealand and Australia for over 70 years, but we now also have the Lansdowne Cup (Australia v Ireland), the Mandela Plate (South Africa v Australia), the Dave Gallaher Trophy (France v New Zealand), the Tom Richards Trophy (Australia v the Lions), the Freedom Cup (New Zealand v South Africa), the Puma Trophy (Argentina v Australia), the Cook Cup (England v Australia) and the Bicentenary Trophy (France v Australia), to name but several. It's as if no game can have any meaning unless the winning team get to pose for a picture and show off whichever pot, shield or cup has been deemed the appropriate prize for that particular game.
Sadly, no physical Wooden Spoon yet exists for the team finishing in last place in the Six Nations championship, although surely it's only a matter of time...