Broken Ranfurly Shield caused by 'genuine accident', Hawke's Bay Rugby says
The Hawke's Bay Rugby Union says damage to the Ranfurly Shield, less than 24 hours after the Magpies win, was caused by a "genuine accident".
Footage has circulated on social media of two-test All Black halfback Folau Fakatava standing over the splintered remains of the shield, although the union has cleared him of causing the damage.
The Magpies lifted the famed Log o' Wood after a dramatic 20-18 win over the Wellington Lions at Sky Stadium on Saturday.
Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union CEO Jay Campbell said: "Hawke’s Bay Rugby is aware of social media posts circulating showing a damaged Ranfurly Shield."
"Having taken some time to understand from those present what has happened, this was a genuine accident which occurred this morning when a player has unfortunately dropped the Shield onto a concrete kitchen floor," Jay said in a statement to Hawke's Bay App.
"Hawke’s Bay Rugby and our players understand the significance of this special taonga and its unique place within NZ rugby including our own rich history. Everyone involved is incredibly upset and devastated by what has happened, especially as it was a genuine accident.
"Hawke’s Bay has a rich and proud history with the Log of Wood and we are incredibly proud of our performance yesterday and to once again be shield holders."
Campbell also voiced his disappointment that footage of the damage made its way onto social media.
"We are very disappointed that a video has been shared on social media and can confirm that the individual in the video is not responsible for the damage. Posting on social media is not appropriate given the seriousness of this situation and we will be speaking with our team. Hawke’s Bay Rugby takes full responsibility for the damage and will immediately begin the process of repair.”
Hawke's Bay has won the shield eight times - four in the last ten years.
In 2013, their one-point win over Otago in Dunedin ended their 44 years without the shield. Before then, they had won the shield in 1922, 1927, 1934 and 1966.
Prior to Saturday night's win, Hawke's Bay last had the shield in October 2020.
A newly restored shield Log o' Wood was only unveiled in August, after the old shield had gradually become worn down by 118 years of handling and an untold number of celebrations.
The Shield is made from English Oak to the same dimensions as the original and was restored over nine months by Tri Peek in Waikanae, Wellington.