Only seven captains in the history of the game have had the honour of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup, but every four years a select group of players earn a more permanent souvenir of their contribution to rugby’s showcase: a medal.

For months, British design company Touch of Ginger have been working in secret on a range of medals that will honour the contributions of so many to RWC 2015.

Director Adam Cash said their brief was to produce three different sets of medals: for the World Cup finalists and winners of the third/fourth place play-off; for the remaining 17 teams; and for the helpers.

He said: “The helpers’ gifts are for everyone involved in helping to put together what is a huge logistical challenge, so they have something to say thank you to them. The participants’ medals are for everyone involved in all the teams. Then there is the main event: the finalists’ gold, silver and bronze versions.”

Fellow director Gary Moore said: “We know that the medals had to be of a certain size and shape and scale. That is key in meeting specific requirements, but then the creative bit is where we like to think that we’ve come in with something really rather special. It’s about producing something unique.”

“The big process really centred around understanding the context of the whole tournament, the history of England and its relationship with rugby, because that’s really so important. We were really very lucky because the history and cultural background is massive in England.”

The analogy the company uses for its medals is to a high-precision watch. The medals are machined to within a fraction of a millimetre from a solid piece of material, using techniques more usually associated with aerospace and formula one.

Cash said: “It isn’t the normal way to make a medal and there’s been a lot of sleepless nights and head scratching to get this to work, because it technically is very, very difficult. They will look different for that reason, although they look very simple and elegant.”

When the medals are handed out after the World Cup final on 31 October, the feeling of pride among the designers will be immense.

Moore said: “We’ll be there. It’s just as much our final, if you like, as the guys out on the pitch. So it is immense pride, not just because we were chosen and selected to do the design but because we’re doing it for our country.”