Ranfurly Shield

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Ranfurly Shield
The Ranfurly Shield
SportRugby union
Presented byNew Zealand Rugby Union
TypeProvincial challenge trophy
First contested1904
Current holder Hawke's Bay
Official websiteprovincial.rugby/ranfurly-shield
Current season2024

The Ranfurly Shield, colloquially known as the Log o' Wood, is a trophy in New Zealand's domestic rugby union competition. First played for in 1904, the Shield is based on a challenge system. The holding union must defend the shield in challenge matches, which are usually played at the shield holder's home venue, and if the challenger is successful in their challenge they will become the new holder of the Shield. There is a tradition for the first challenges of a new rugby season to be played against smaller associations from the Heartland Championship.

Although the professional era of rugby has seen other competitions, such as the NPC and Super Rugby, detracting from the pre-eminence of the Ranfurly Shield, many regard it as the greatest prize in New Zealand domestic rugby.[1] This is mainly due to its long history, the fact that every challenge is a sudden-death defence of the Shield, and that any team has a chance to win.

Hawke's Bay won the Shield from Wellington on 30 September 2023.

History[edit]

In 1901 the Governor of New Zealand, The 5th Earl of Ranfurly, announced that he would present a cup to the New Zealand Rugby Football Union to be used as the prize in a competition of their choosing. When the trophy, a shield, arrived, the NZRFU decided that it would be awarded to the union with the best record in the 1902 season, and thenceforth be the subject of a challenge system. Auckland, unbeaten in 1902, was presented with the shield. The shield was designed as a trophy for association football, not rugby.[2] The picture in the centrepiece was a soccer one, and was modified by adding goal posts on the soccer goal in the picture to create a rugby scene. The alterations to the centrepiece are still apparent.[3]

Auckland were on tour in 1903 and did not play any home games, and thus did not have to defend the Shield. Their first defence was against Wellington in 1904, and was unsuccessful.[citation needed]

Since the introduction of the National Provincial Championship in 1976, all home games a Shield-holder plays in the NPC or Heartland Championship, during league play are automatically challenge matches.[4]

Ranfurly Shield Visit to Shannon 1927

Auckland holds the record for the greatest number of consecutive Shield defences, 61 matches between 14 September 1985 and 18 September 1993. During this period Auckland took the Shield on tour to provincial unions that, mainly for financial reasons, would be unlikely to be able to mount a challenge for the trophy. While dismissed by some critics, usually because of the one-sided scores, it was mostly regarded as a success by those involved.[citation needed]

In 1994 when Canterbury wrested the Shield from Waikato, it was in battered condition, with large cracks, chips and peeled varnish. Nearly a century of use had taken its toll. Canterbury player Chris England, skilled in woodwork, fully renovated it, bringing it back into pristine condition.[5]

In 2023 the Shield was restored over nine months by Tri Peek in Waikanae, Wellington, who had been repairing the trophy for several years before the full restoration decision. The original Oak shield was replaced with English Oak from the Hutt Valley in New Zealand, seasoned for 5 years. The badges, already recently replaced in 2012 were moved to the new shield.[6]

The old Shield, which had gradually become worn down by 118 years of handling and an untold number of celebrations, has been blessed and decommissioned by NZ Rugby Māori cultural adviser Luke Crawford, recognising its status as a taonga in rugby. The replacement shield was accidentally broken after being dropped on a concrete floor in September 2023 just after Hawke's Bay had won it from Wellington.[7]

Challenges[edit]

The Shield holder at the end of each season is required to accept at least seven challenges for the following year. All home games during league play, but not during knockout playoffs, in the NPC or Heartland Championship are automatic challenges. The remaining shield defences must be made up of challenges from unions in the other domestic competition.[4] For example, since North Harbour, an Air New Zealand Cup (now NPC) team, held the Shield at the end of the 2006 Cup season despite losing their home quarter-final to Otago, they were forced to defend the Shield against Heartland Championship teams during the 2007 pre-season. Having successfully done so, all their home fixtures in the round-robin phase were Shield defences until they lost the shield to Waikato.

The Shield-holder is never forced to defend the Shield in an away match, although they may choose to, as Auckland, for example, did on a number of occasions during their record tenure between 1985 and 1993. In 2008, Auckland played both their mandatory defences against Heartland teams on the road.[8]

If a challenger successfully takes the Shield, all of their home matches for the rest of the season are defences of it.

Proposed rule changes[edit]

In August 2008, the New Zealand Rugby Union released a competitions review that proposed dramatic changes to the Shield rules:[9]

  • Once a team has successfully defended the Shield four times, all of the holder's subsequent matches in league play would be mandatory defences, whether home or away. The Shield will not be at stake in semifinals or finals.
  • If an Air New Zealand Cup team holds the Shield at the end of the league season, that season's winners of the Meads Cup and Lochore Cup, the two trophies contested in the second-level Heartland Championship, will receive automatic challenges in the following year.

The changes were not implemented but did receive support from Auckland, which held the Shield when the NZRU released its report.[9]

Teams[edit]

Just under half of the unions that can contest for the Ranfurly Shield do not have an alias. South Canterbury's emblem is their own Coat of Arms. But a soldier represents their green and black colour and current mascot, Tim and Ru. The mascots were originally used during wartime and were created by Ronald Murray.[10] Many of the unions below have this situation, like Poverty Bay's Weka, it resembles their mascot after the 2011 squads post-match photo after the Lochore Cup final.[11]

Team Estab­lished Alias Area Stadia First held
Auckland
A.R.U
1883 HMS Endeavour Auckland, Auckland Eden Park 1905
Buller
B.R.U
1894 Lion Westport, West Coast Victoria Square
Bay of Plenty
B.O.P.R.U
1911 Pohutu Geyser Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty Rotorua International Stadium 2004
Canterbury
C.R.F.U
1879 Lamb Christchurch, Canterbury Rugby League Park 1927
Counties Manukau
C.M.R.F.U
1955 Glenbrook Steel Mill Pukekohe, Auckland Growers Stadium 2013
East Coast
E.C.R.F.U
1922 Pohutukawa Ruatoria, Gisborne Whakarua Park
Hawke's Bay
H.B.R.U
1884 Magpie Napier, Hawke's Bay McLean Park 1922
Horowhenua Kapiti
H.K.R.F.U
1893 Rugby football Levin, Manawatū-Whanganui Levin Domain 1927
(as Manawhenua)
King Country
K.C.R.F.U
1922 Ram Te Kuiti, King Country Owen Delany Park
Manawatu
M.R.U
1886 Wind turbine Palmerston North, Manawatū-Whanganui Central Energy Trust Arena 1927
(as Manawhenua)
Mid Canterbury
M.C.R.U
1904 Hammer Ashburton, Canterbury Ashburton Showgrounds
Northland
N.R.U
1920 Taniwha Whangarei, Northland Okara Park 1950
(as North Auckland)
North Harbour
N.H.R.U
1985 Hibiscus Albany, Auckland North Harbour Stadium 2006
North Otago
N.O.R.F.U
1904 Gold Oamaru, Otago Centennial Park
Otago
O.R.F.U
1881 Razorback Dunedin, Otago Forsyth Barr Stadium 1935
Poverty Bay
P.B.R.F.U
1890 Weka Gisborne, Gisborne Rugby Park
Southland
R.S
1887 Stag Invercargill, Southland Rugby Park Stadium 1920
South Canterbury
S.C.R.F.U
1888 Soldier* Timaru, Canterbury Fraser Park 1950
Taranaki
T.R.F.U
1889 Bull New Plymouth, Taranaki Yarrow Stadium 1913
Tasman
T.R.U
2006 Shortfin mako shark Nelson, Nelson Trafalgar Park 1973
(as Marlborough)
Thames Valley
T.V.R.F.U
1922 Swamp Fox Paeroa, Waikato Paeroa Domain
Waikato
W.R.U
1921 Mooloo Hamilton, Waikato Waikato Stadium 1951
Wairarapa Bush
W.B.R.F.U
1971 Castle Rock Masterton, Wellington Memorial Park 1927
(as Wairarapa)
Wanganui
W.R.F.U
1888 Butcher Whanganui, Manawatū-Whanganui Cooks Gardens
Wellington
W.R.F.U
1879 Lion Wellington, Wellington Westpac Stadium 1904
West Coast
W.C.R.U
1890 Swan Greymouth, West Coast Rugby Park

Results[edit]

Match Date Holder Score Challenger Stadia Defences
1. 6 August 1904 Auckland 3–6 Wellington Alexandra Park 0
6. 26 August 1905 Wellington 6–10 Auckland Athletic Park 4
30. 16 August 1913 Auckland 11–14 Taranaki Alexandra Park 23
37. 10 September 1914 Taranaki 6–12 Wellington Victoria Park 6
53. 15 September 1920 Wellington 6–17 Southland Rugby Park 15
55. 10 September 1921 Southland 13–28 Wellington Athletic Park 1
58. 9 August 1922 Wellington 9–19 Hawke's Bay Athletic Park 2
83. 3 June 1927 Hawke's Bay 11–15 Wairarapa McLean Park 24
86. 6 August 1927 Wairarapa 16–18 Manawhenua Showgrounds Oval 2*
89. 7 September 1927 Manawhenua 6–17 Canterbury Showgrounds Oval 2
91. 18 July 1928 Canterbury 7–8 Wairarapa Lancaster Park Oval 1
100. 31 August 1929 Wairarapa 16–19 Southland Showgrounds Oval 8
104. 3 September 1930 Southland 3–12 Wellington Rugby Park 3
106. 22 August 1931 Wellington 6–8 Canterbury Athletic Park 1
122. 21 July 1934 Canterbury 0–9 Hawke's Bay Lancaster Park Oval 15
125. 8 September 1934 Hawke's Bay 14–18 Auckland McLean Park 2
127. 10 August 1935 Auckland 13–16 Canterbury Eden Park 1
132. 21 September 1935 Canterbury 6–15 Otago Lancaster Park Oval 4
141. 31 July 1937 Otago 7–12 Southland Carisbrook Ground 8
142. 30 July 1938 Southland 6–7 Otago Rugby Park 0
148. 10 September 1938 Otago 5–10 Southland Carisbrook Ground 5
160. 2 August 1947 Southland 11–17 Otago Rugby Park 11
179. 16 August 1950 Otago 0–8 Canterbury Carisbrook Ground 18
180. 2 September 1950 Canterbury 0–3 Wairarapa Lancaster Park Oval 0
181. 16 September 1950 Wairarapa 14–17 South Canterbury Solway Showgrounds Oval 0
182. 30 September 1950 South Canterbury 9–20 North Auckland Fraser Park 0
185. 18 August 1951 North Auckland 3–6 Waikato Rugby Park 2
192. 9 August 1952 Waikato 0–9 Auckland Rugby Park 6
193. 23 August 1952 Auckland 3–6 Waikato Eden Park 0
200. 1 August 1953 Waikato 6–9 Wellington Rugby Park 6
206. 19 September 1953 Wellington 3–24 Canterbury Athletic Park 5
230. 22 September 1956 Canterbury 0–8 Wellington Lancaster Park Oval 23
235. 24 August 1957 Wellington 11–19 Otago Athletic Park 4
237. 28 September 1957 Otago 9–11 Taranaki Carisbrook 1
251. 5 September 1959 Taranaki 6–23 Southland Rugby Park 13
  • Wairarapa's 1927-era saw them lose to Hawke's Bay 21–10 at Solway Showgrounds Oval, but was subsequently awarded the shield back on a residential breach.
Ranfurly Shield Holders
Union Won Successful Defences
Southland 5 September 1959 0
Auckland 23 September 1959 2
Northland 20 August 1960 1
Auckland 31 August 1960 25
Wellington 31 August 1963 0
Taranaki 7 September 1963 15
Auckland 11 September 1965 3
Waikato 27 August 1966 0
Hawke's Bay 24 September 1966 21
Canterbury 27 September 1969 9
Auckland 28 August 1971 1
Northland 18 September 1971 6
Auckland 26 August 1972 0
Canterbury 5 September 1972 2
Marlborough 28 July 1973 6
South Canterbury 17 August 1974 1
Wellington 3 September 1974 1
Auckland 21 September 1974 10
Manawatu 21 August 1976 13
Northland 12 September 1978 5
Auckland 21 September 1979 6
Waikato 7 September 1980 8
Wellington 1 August 1981 4
Canterbury 18 September 1982 25
Auckland 14 September 1985 61
Waikato 18 September 1993 5
Canterbury 3 September 1994 9
Auckland 23 September 1995 3
Taranaki 24 August 1996 1
Waikato 8 September 1996 1
Auckland 4 October 1996 6
Waikato 5 October 1997 21
Canterbury 23 September 2000 23
Auckland 11 October 2003 2
Bay of Plenty 15 August 2004 1
Canterbury 5 September 2004 14
North Harbour 24 September 2006 3
Waikato 24 August 2007 0
Canterbury 1 September 2007 1
Auckland 29 September 2007 5
Wellington 20 September 2008 4
Canterbury 29 August 2009 4
Southland 22 October 2009 6
Canterbury 9 October 2010 2
Southland 23 July 2011 2
Taranaki 24 August 2011 7
Waikato 3 October 2012 4
Otago 23 August 2013 0
Hawke's Bay 1 September 2013 0
Counties Manukau 7 September 2013 6
Hawke's Bay 30 August 2014 11
Waikato 9 October 2015 6
Canterbury 28 September 2016 6
Taranaki 6 October 2017 5
Waikato 9 September 2018 2
Otago 13 October 2018 6
Canterbury 28 September 2019 2
Taranaki 19 September 2020 0
Otago 27 September 2020 0
Hawke's Bay 4 October 2020 14
Wellington 17 September 2022 7
Hawke's Bay 30 September 2023 0

Overall records[edit]

Team Wins Successful Defences Average Defences
Auckland 16 148 9.25
Canterbury 16 139 8.69
Waikato 13 60 4.62
Wellington 11 46 4.18
Hawke's Bay 7 72 10.29
Taranaki 7 48 8
Otago 7 38 6.17
Southland 7 25 3.14
Northland 4 14 3.5
Wairarapa 3 10 3.33
South Canterbury 2 1 0.5
Manawatu 1 13 13
Counties Manukau 1 6 6
Marlborough 1 6 6
North Harbour 1 3 3
Manawhenua 1 2 2
Bay of Plenty 1 1 1

Last updated: following Hawke's Bay's successful challenge against Wellington, 30 September 2023

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Ranfurly Shield". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  2. ^ Chester, Rod; McMillan, Neville; Palenski, Ron (1987). The Encyclopedia of New Zealand Rugby. Auckland, New Zealand: Moa Publications. p. 266. ISBN 0-908570-16-3.
  3. ^ According to Dunedin engraver Brian Swan, who noted the "very low" crossbar in the centrepiece scene, quoted in "Shield victory recalls origins of famous rugby trophy" by anonymous columnist 'Prester John' in Otago Daily Times, 2013-08-31, p35 (not published online).
  4. ^ a b "2023 NZR Competitions Regulations Handbook" (PDF). New Zealand Rugby Union. 2023. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  5. ^ McLean, Glenn (29 September 2011). "Ranfurly Shield runs out of room". Stuff. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  6. ^ Cully, Paul (18 August 2023). "A new Log 'o Wood: Ranfurly Shield undergoes major restoration as old version is retired". Stuff. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  7. ^ Reive, Christopher (1 October 2023). "Hawke's Bay Rugby Union says 'genuine accident' cause of broken Ranfurly Shield". Hawke's Bay Today. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  8. ^ "Auckland accepts two Ranfurly Shield challenges". New Zealand Rugby Union. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
  9. ^ a b "Hawke's Bay claim Ranfurly Shield glory". Stuff.co.nz. Fairfax NZ News. 1 September 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  10. ^ "Mascots back in green and black". Stuff. 24 February 2013.
  11. ^ "Lochore Cup Final - South Canterbury v Poverty Bay". Zimbo. 8 October 2011.

External links[edit]