Taranaki have celebrated their Ranfurly Shield with style and sensibility.

A remarkable 55-43 victory over Canterbury saw Taranaki hold the Shield aloft for the sixth time, ending Canterbury's year-long reign.

While there was a good time had in the aftermath, Taranaki have to defend the Shield on Wednesday against Manawatu, and then play North Harbour next Sunday as they try to earn home advantage into the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership playoffs.

As a result, the celebrations were enjoyable but not excessive, explains Taranaki hooker Ricky Riccitelli.


"It was a weird feeling - you win it and in the back of your mind you go 'oh we've got to defend it and lock it up for the summer on Wednesday'," he told Tony Veitch on Newstalk ZB.

"We just celebrated accordingly, the boys made good decisions - looking forward to a bit of recovery and just resting up, but also enjoying the win with our mates and families at the same time. Having a good balance, we're still preparing well for what will be a tough challenge on Wednesday."

What makes the celebrations more rewarding was the manner in which Taranaki claimed the Shield. Down 31-7 after 27 minutes, Taranaki scored 48 points in 47 minutes to complete one of the greatest turnarounds in Shield history.

Coach Colin Cooper credited the leaders within the team for turning the game around.

"In 20 minutes we made 10 mistakes and they scored three tries off those mistakes. We just had to get the ball and build and trust the game plan, and we did that.

"It was a hard watch to start with but we toughed it out, and that's where the leadership of the group came through. It was all really positive and I didn't need to say much because the leaders were saying it all."

The players took the Shield back to Taranaki today, and were greeted by hordes of fans as they held a parade through the city streets.

"It brings the community together, it's amazing," says Riccitelli.

"Bringing it home to the Naki was awesome, to see all the fans at the airport and the parade and seeing how much it means to the community. The stories you hear from it, the yarns you accumulate over the years, it's been through so many hands and so many teams, it's cool that it's in this province as it's so appreciated here."