Rugby: Ranfurly Shield suffers damage during wild Hawke's Bay celebrations

Hawke's Bay Rugby has confirmed serious damage to the Ranfurly Shield, the day after the Magpies lifted the iconic provincial trophy off Wellington.

Loose forward Sam Smith scored a try, converted from in front of the posts by Lincoln McClutchie in the dying seconds, to prise the famed 'Log O' Wood' from the holders on Saturday, but social media footage has since emerged of the trophy lying split in two.

All Blacks halfback Folau Fakatava is pictured standing over the splintered remains of the shield, although the union has cleared him of causing the damage.

Hawke's Bay rugby fans celebrate the Ranfurly Shield victory.
Hawke's Bay rugby fans celebrate the Ranfurly Shield victory. Photo credit: Photosport

"Hawke's Bay Rugby is aware of social media posts circulating showing a damaged Ranfurly Shield," said union chief executive Jay Campbell. "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.

"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.

"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 as a genuine accident.

"We are very disappointed that a video has being [sic] 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 being the process of repair."

The Bay have held the Shield eight times over its 119-year history, defending it 72 times. Wellington lifted the trophy off the Magpies last September to begin a seven-game tenure, before handing it back this week.

It was originally presented by the Governor of New Zealand, the Earl of Ranfurly, to Auckland, after their unbeaten 1902 season, but was originally designed as a soccer trophy, so the centrepiece had to be altered with rugby posts.

Hawke's Bay celebrate their Ranfurly Shield victory.
Hawke's Bay celebrate their Ranfurly Shield victory. Photo credit: Photosport

Because Auckland had no home games in 1903, their first defence was unsuccessful against Wellington the following year.

The trophy has suffered more than its share of wear and tear over the years, and was restored in 1994 and again this year, when it was blessed by NZ Rugby Māori cultural advisor Luke Crawford and recognised as 'taonga' (prized).