Rugby World Cup: Black Ferns star Ruby Tui gives gold medal away to leukemia survivor during celebrations

Black Ferns hero Ruby Tui has emerged from Rugby World Cup victory celebrations without her coveted gold medal, after gifting the prize to a young fan late Saturday night.

The Olympic sevens champion converted to the game's 15-a-side format to help New Zealand retain their world crown, ending England's 30-game winning streak at a packed-out Eden Park.

At a fan engagement event earlier in the week, Tui had met Lucia, a young girl who told her she also wanted to be a Black Fern one day. Moments later, her father revealed Lucia had recently recovered from blood cancer.

As the NZ women mingled with supporters around the stadium, Tui, 30, spotted her fan among the crowd and deposited the medal around her neck as a keepsake. She related the story to journalists later that night.

Newshub caught up with Lucia at Sunday's Celebrate #LikeaBlackFern event at downtown Auckland.

"After the game, I hung around waiting for her," said Lucia. "She gave me a hug and took off the medal and gave me the medal.

"I was in shock and I was crying."

On Sunday, Lucia and her family visited the team hotel, trying to return the medal - but Tui would have none of it. Instead, she accepted Lucia's Player of the Year trophy and one of her cancer survivor beads.

Tui also posted a Tweet - without medal - thanking fans for their support throughout the World Cup campaign.

During post-match celebrations, she also commandeered a TV microphone to exhort Eden Park patrons into song - a stirring rendition the vintage Māori waiata Tutira Mai Nga Iwi.