What did you make of the weekend's Raeburn Shield match?

A doozy wasn't it. As if having a spot in the World Cup semi-finals on the line wasn't enough.

The second week in a row the Shield has brought the best out of teams.

First we had Wales doing all they could to hold onto the beautifully crafted trophy and Australia resembling a brick wall as they repelled attack after attack in the final round of pool play to claim the crown, before Scotland looked to have ended the Wallabies Raeburn era after just a week before the stroke of luck through the blast of Craig Joubert's whistle.


That's the kind of passion the Raeburn Shield can ignite - tremendous contests and scintillating rugby.

I've lost you already haven't I?

Let me take you into a parallel universe where international rugby competes for a Ranfurly Shield concept (except it is put up home and away) and has done ever since the first international.

It's called the Raeburn Shield. So named because of the first ever rugby international between England and Scotland was played in 1871 at Raeburn Place. A website has been set up to track the path of the non-existent trophy from match to match down the years since that first international.

Who can forget the All Blacks magnificent run between 1987 and 1990, seeing off 18 challenges before succumbing to our trans-Tasman neighbours.

The All Black midfield general Conrad Smith talks about the mutual respect between the AB's and the Springboks and how “They are a special opponent and it’s a very special rivalry. I grew up during the apartheid era, when Australia were the traditional foes, but now South Africa have come back into it and I think it’s got back to where it was and they are our ultimate rival."

World Rugby would be much better off if this trophy entered into reality. Maybe don't play for it in knockout games of World Cups perhaps, but how great would it be to see the likes of Japan, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga hold that trophy and have it played for in games against other sides from that region. It may not be the ultimate solution to the expansion of rugby, but it would give teams that otherwise might not be able to win a tournament a chance to pull off a one-off upset of the big boys.

World Rugby has little to lose by implementing such a trophy. It won't take the gloss off the Rugby Championship or Six Nations and heavens knows there is enough trophies played for between teams (the Hillary Shield and Freedom Cup are no Bledisloe Cup) that one more with a bit of a story behind it wouldn't hurt.

The All Blacks are back in London with their feet firmly back on the ground after thrashing France, they know what is needed to defeat the Springboks and say they will 'rise to the occasion' on Sunday ( NZ time).

I can't see it happening any time soon. Despite the fact the research work has been done for them already by some fine people on the internet, it probably isn't high on Brett Gosper's to-do list. (I imagine number one might still be finding out exactly whether Craig Joubert did need to go to the bathroom as he suggested in an interview with the BBC).

Is it possible to enjoy something that doesn't exist and in all likelihood will never exist as a tangible object?

I believe so.

Like Andrew Mulligan's dogged, persistent work to get the DHL Cup put on the line again (did the ARU ever return your calls Mulls?), if you believe the end cause is truly worth it, then it is worth the fight.