18 Aug 2011

There's not just one Rugby World Cup

10:51 pm on 18 August 2011

Rugby World Cup organisers say people who viewed the Webb Ellis trophy which toured New Zealand recently were not duped and it was the real thing.

There has been speculation that the trophy was a replica but Rugby World Cup, a subsidiary of the International Rugby Board, says it has two Cups and both are of equal standing.

Organisers say the trophy that people saw and were photographed with during the roadshow is the Webb Ellis Cup that will be presented to the winning team in Auckland on 23 October.

Tournament director Kit McConnell says there is no original Cup and both were acquired before the first tournament in 1987.

They share the same history and both have been used at past tournaments.

Mr McConnell says it is common at major sporting events to have two trophies, but only one is ever used at any given time.

TV3 on Wednesday night reported a claim that the Cup which appeared in New Zealand is a replica with the original still in Britain because it required minor repairs.

Rugby World Cup 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden says he only found out on Thursday that two trophies exist.

However, Mr Snedden says he is happy with assurances from the tournament owner that the trophy that toured New Zealand is the same one that will be presented at the final.

Sir Brian Lochore, the national coach when the All Blacks last won the tournament in 1987, says he didn't know there were two trophies and the situation is a bit odd.

Well, it is a bit strange to have two Cups for the same event - there's only one World Cup.

All this time, it could have been in South Africa for the last four years, but there's one sitting in Ireland at the same time. I feel it's a little bit unnecessary, but I don't know what the reasons are.

Sir Brian says those publicising the roadshow should have been more honest.

The Rugby World Cup begins on 9 September.