The Utrecht Shield - Celebrating over 40 years of women's International Rugby

In the realm of rugby, victories extend beyond the scoreboard, manifesting in symbols that encapsulate passion, resilience, and unity. The Utrecht Shield for International Women's Rugby is a prime example – a powerful emblem that embodies the dedication and strength of women in the sport who trail-blazed for other women to be acknowledged as International athletes.

The Genesis of the Utrecht Shield:

The Utrecht Shield's story began with the visionary Dave Algie, a New Zealander with a deep love for rugby and an unwavering commitment to promoting women's involvement in the sport. He came up with the concept, and describes the purpose of the shield below:

The Utrecht Shield is a hypothetical women's rugby union trophy. The men's rugby union version is the Raeburn Shield. The trophy is named after Utrecht the site of the first ever international between the Netherlands and France, on 13 June 1982. The concept is that it is a Title Holders Shield, similar to a Boxing World Title or the Ranfurly Shield in New Zealand.

The proposed advantages are:

  • As it would be decided on a single game, there would be increased chances of producing a Title Holder from a non Top Tier nation, giving more chance for an underdog to win a title.
  • Title games would become more interesting, as the title holder would have something to play for, and the underdog would have extra motivation to lift their game.
  • These Title games would occur much more frequently than the World Cup.


Visionary Dave Algie with the Shield's maker Freddie Main


Oak & Black: Transforming Vision into Reality:

Enter Oak & Black, the artisans tasked with bringing the Utrecht Shield to life. Under the leadership of Freddie Main, this craftsmanship powerhouse embraced the challenge with a perfect blend of skill and passion. Oak & Black's commitment to quality craftsmanship and a genuine connection to the cause made them the ideal collaborators for this groundbreaking project.

Oak & Black MD Freddie Main with the finished Shield


Freddie Main's Advocacy for Women's Rugby:

Freddie Main, former head coach of Watsonian Women ( and a two-time Scottish Premiership winning coach, emerged as a pivotal figure in the Utrecht Shield's journey. With a profound advocacy for women's rugby, Main brought more than just craftsmanship to the table – he brought a genuine commitment to advancing the sport and creating opportunities for women to shine on the rugby field.

Watsonians Captain Al King & Head Coach Freddie Main with the 2022 Scottish Premiership Trophy


Women's 6 Nations:

With this year's W6N set to be another cracker, it would have been brilliant to see some of our home-grown talent competing for the Shield. Unfortunately though, Australia won it from France at the end of October, so we'll need to wait a bit longer for a home nations team to lift it again. In the meantime go and support your favourite team and check out the Utrecht Shield website where you can support this initiative and be a part of history!

Utrecht Shield Website


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