The Webb Ellis Cup has made a stop in Whakatane giving local students an opportunity to get up close to the prestigious trophy.

The Webb Ellis Cup, also known as the Rugby World Cup, has been doing the rounds in New Zealand since the All Blacks brought the trophy home last November.

It was taken to four schools in the Bay of Plenty today - Whakatane High School, Trident College, Papamoa College and Tauranga Boys' College.

New Zealand Rugby general manager of community and provincial union rugby Brent Anderson said they wanted to share the trophy with communities all over New Zealand, especially teenagers which was the first stage of their programme.

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"The local visits were part of a drive to sign up teenagers for rugby around New Zealand.

"It's about saying thanks for playing rugby and to give players an opportunity to get up close with the ultimate rugby prize."

He said rugby provided young people with skills that can help them in life.

"Rugby's a great way to keep fit and have fun with your mates, but more than that, kids learn commitment, to be reliable and accountable to others, and become part of a community.

"Teenagers tell us what they love about playing rugby is the time they get to spend with their mates, away from teachers and parents and being independent and just being themselves. Those friendships cemented on the rugby field are often lifelong - speaking from personal experience."

Anderson said 42,072 teenagers signed up to play rugby in 2015.

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"This year we're challenging high schools to sign up one more team. Often schools don't have quite enough players to make up an extra team so they share them around existing teams giving everyone less game time.

"With a bit of extra effort we hope to encourage enough kids to make another team. The schools who achieve it will win a special rugby prize pack and go in the draw to win a visit from the All Blacks.

"Sonny Bill Williams is our ambassador for teenage rugby and he'll be visiting schools this year and we even have a TV show just for teenagers - Random Rugby TV."

All Black Sam Cane took the Webb Ellis Cup to his hometown of Reporoa last December.