Held by many .. but won by few. Well at least I can now qualify for the the first ... yesterday at the BNZ Bank at the north end of Lambton Quay. They were displaying the Ranfurly Shield and other memorabilia to raise funds for the bush fire victims in Victoria, Australia.
One intersting snippet about the shield was that it was originally designed as a trophy for soccer, not rugby. This was because the picture in the centrepiece was a soccer one. The picture was modified by adding goal posts on the soccer goal that comprised the picture, to create a rugby scene. The ball was round and had to be modified to the oval shape of a rugby ball!!
The Ranfurly Shield colloquially known as the Log o' Wood, is perhaps the most prestigious trophy in New Zealand's domestic rugby union competition. First played for in 1902, the Ranfurly Shield is based on a challenge system, rather than a league or knockout competition as with most football trophies. The holding union must defend the Shield in challenge matches, and if a challenger defeats them, they become the new holder of the Shield.
The Shield is currently held by Wellington, who won it from Auckland in Round 8 of the Round Robin in the 2008 Air New Zealand Cup.
Although the professional era of rugby has seen competitions such as the National Provincial Championship and its successor, the Air New Zealand Cup, and Super Rugby detracting from the pre-eminence of the Ranfurly Shield, many still regard it as the greatest prize in New Zealand rugby, thanks to its long history, the fact that every challenge is a sudden-death defence of the Shield, and that any team, no matter how lowly, has a chance to win.