Second World Cup exists, Snedden confirms

The William Webb Ellis Trophy. But which one went on tour? Photo / NZ Herald
The William Webb Ellis Trophy. But which one went on tour? Photo / NZ Herald

Rugby World Cup 2011 boss Martin Snedden has confirmed the trophy thousands of New Zealanders had their photos taken with is the real Webb Ellis Cup, however fans can't be blamed for seeing double.

Mr Snedden confirmed today that two trophies exist and the one which toured New Zealand will be the same trophy handed to the winning team on October 23.

"The trophy that New Zealanders saw and had their photos taken with is the Webb Ellis Cup that will be presented to the winning team at the Final of RWC 2011 on October 23 at Eden Park," said Mr Snedden said.

"We are pleased to be able to reassure all those fans who turned up early in the morning around the country that the experience they had was genuine."

The Rugby World Cup was first played in 1987 but according to reports the actual trophy was created in 1906 by Garrard's Crown Jewellers in London.

Last month a 27-centre RWC 2011 Roadshow was promoted as taking the William Webb Ellis Cup to the country, and promoters said more than 11,000 New Zealanders had their photo taken with it.

However, TV3 reported last night that the 'real' cup was getting minor repairs in Ireland and competition organisers didn't make the distinction between it and the replica public, for security reasons.

Rugby World Cup Ltd, the subsidiary of the International Rugby Board, which owns the Tournament, said it possessed two cups.

"As is common with other major sports tournaments, we have two trophies, however only one is ever used at any given point in time," said Tournament director Kit McConnell.

"Both cups are equal in stature. There is no original cup as such, they are interchangeable and we don't distinguish between the two. They were both acquired before the first Tournament so share the same Rugby World Cup history.

"Both have been used at past Tournaments and both have been in the hands of winning captains and teams. They both represent the spirit of the Game.

"I want to reassure New Zealand fans that the Cup they have enjoyed recently on the RWC 2011 Roadshow will be the one held aloft on October 23 by the winning captain."

Rugby commentator Keith Quinn says he'd always known there were two Cups in existence, the older one made in Britain which is the one that is always presented at the end of the tournament and is more valuable.

It didn't bother him that there was a back up.

"If it looks like the Rugby World Cup and feels like the Rugby World Cup - it's the Rugby World Cup," he said.


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