For every nation of fans, and for every player who makes it past the knockouts, there can be only one satisfactory outcome to any Rugby World Cup: laying claim to a gleaming, 38-centimetre-high, golden trophy when the final whistle blows. But what's the story behind that prize - better known as the William Webb Ellis Cup - and where did the name come from?
William Webb Ellis was the schoolboy who, in the English autumn of 1823, changed the face of world sport by picking up and running with a football. He was playing for his school, Rugby, at the time. That's how the legend goes, and it may or may not be true, but one thing is sure: young Ellis went down in history as the accidental creator of the game we love.
Rugby is an elite school in Britain's oddly named "public" (expensively private) system . But William was not a privileged child: he was at Rugby on a scholarship that applied to boys living within ten miles of its gates. His mother was a widow with very limited means.
It's likely that William would be amazed at today's widespread fame of his name and perhaps even more amazed at the game it's inextricably linked to. He was better known at school and university as a cricketer - a sport he played far more seriously. He became, after graduating from Oxford University, a clergyman - and a rather evangelical one!
The story behind the trophy itself is perhaps even more intriguing than William's. It’s a lot older than the RWC competition - and it spent many, many years gathering dust in a vault.
In fact, the Rugby World Cup - William Webb Ellis Cup - has a pedigree as illustrious as William's former school. It was created more than a century ago by the world-famous crown jeweller, Garrard's of London, for what was then called the International Rugby Football Board - now the IRB. During the planning of the first-ever Rugby World Cup in 1987, it was brought out of storage, shown to the organisers and eventually selected as the tournament trophy - approval coming from two Kiwis (Bob Stuart and Dick Littlejohn), two Aussies, (Nick Shehadie and Ross Turnbull), Welshman Keith Rowlands and Ronnie Dawson of Ireland.
In keeping with its age (it's now 105!), the trophy has a classic, ornate design, inspired by a cup created in 1740. It's solid silver plated with gold, and has two impressive scroll handles, one bearing the head of a satyr, the other the head of a nymph.
So, the trophy the victorious captain will claim after 2011's Rugby World Cup is more than just a glittering prize. It has a history all its own: something indeed to be coveted. May the best side win!