The first sight of Rugby honour caps came in 1839 when a group of boys from ‘Rugby School’ paraded for Queen Adelaide with plush crimson velvet caps and gold tassels. After hearing of the term ‘football’, the royal figure requested a match to be played the following day. The boys retained their caps and used them as uniform – the first recorded occasion of a uniform being worn in a match. The Cap was retained in the 1840’s as a way to distinguish teams, particularly in scrummage and so team mates did not mercilessly hack each other.
The ‘velvet’ cap came about later in the 19th century to reward players who were ‘worthy individuals’, who did special deeds or for loyalty to the club. The presentation of these caps were arranged before home games. Nowadays, Rugby teams are identified by shrits, shorts and socks on the field, yet the cap tradition continues in recognition of achievement.
The Milestone Cap
A Milestone may only come around once or twice in an athlete’s career, but when it does, it is proudly recognised by the community as it resembles dedication, service, performance and loyalty to a club. Albion has provided the Wallabies, several Super 15 teams and grassroots clubs with the opportunity to present their Milestone players at 50-game intervals with a unique Milestone cap embellished in club colours, bestowing the club logo, milestone achieved (50th, 100th cap) and fixture in a choice of different style of embroideries on the cap peak or panels. Teams would usually present players either before the game in the dressing room, or in front of their families and club community at an after-match function or presentation evening.
The Debut Honour Cap
The most traditional of cap presentations, and one that sticks close to cap origins, the debut cap is traditionally presented in a special presentation on an athlete’s debut as a way of inaugurating team members to the club. It creates a sense of belonging and unity to a team, and is often reflected upon by players as an important mark in their career.
The Tour Cap
Whether it’s the tour of the UK, the tour of New South Wales, or the Six Nations Tour, Rugby Tours are held in high regard as they present physical challenges, an ‘us against them’ motive, hostility, and a chance for team bonding. Friendships are made off the field, careers on it – the Tour cap encapsulates all that is endured before, during and after the field of battle behind enemy lines.
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