This is what everyone wants to get their hands on at the ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, the Tom Richards Trophy, a magnificent piece of Waterford crystal glassware that gets presented to the winners of the series between the Qantas Wallabies and the British & Irish Lions.
It was John Eales who collected the trophy in 2001 and 12 years on one of two other world class second rows, Wallabies skipper James Horwill or Lions leader Alun Wyn Jones, will step forward to receive the spoils after a sensational series that has broken all attendance records.
The trophy itself is named after one of only two players to have played for both the Lions and Australia, Tom Richards.
Born on 29 April, 1882, near Tenterfield in New South Wales, Richards was the son of a wandering Cornishman who went to Australia during the "Gold Rush". Known as "Rusty", Tom began playing football in Charters Towers, following in the footsteps of his elder brother Bill, who made the first of his five Test appearances for Australia against the 1904 Lions and faced the tourists four times on that tour.
Tom’s appetite 'for the glory and the glamour of a footballer's life' was whetted when he saw a New South Wales Rugby Union team playing. He joined the local Waratahs team in 1898 and next year began a successful career with the Natives club. In 1902 Richards represented Charters Towers against other towns. He played in Brisbane for the Northern District and Country 'B' (1903) and for Queensland 'Next Fifteen' against New South Wales (1905).
With other family members he followed his father to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he played for the Mines club and represented Transvaal in the Currie Cup. Ruled ineligible for South Africa's tour of Britain, he nevertheless sailed for England, where he played for Bristol in 1906-07 and represented Gloucestershire, playing against the South Africans on their tour.
Hearing of plans for an Australian team to visit Britain, he returned home in July, 1907. His strong performances for Queensland ensured his selection for the tour to Britain, France and North America. A big, fast, versatile and opportunistic breakaway forward, with a natural rugby brain, he played against Wales and England, scoring a try at Cardiff Arms Park in a narrow 9-6 defeat.<