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Crusaders seek ‘cultural advice’ after Aotearoa trophy…

WELLINGTON, Aug 11 – The Canterbury Crusaders are seeking “cultural advice” to repair the Super Rugby Aotearoa trophy after it was damaged during their title triumph celebrations.

Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge confirmed on Tuesday the trophy had become another casualty of the 10-times Super Rugby champions, who won the domestic competition with a round to spare by beating the Otago Highlanders on Sunday.

“Following the match on Sunday, the trophy has accidentally been dropped and incurred some minor damage,” Mansbridge said in a statement published by New Zealand media.

“We have notified New Zealand Rugby, and sought cultural advice. Repairs will be made as soon as possible.

“The Super Rugby Aotearoa trophy was designed to be touched and passed around.”

The ‘Tu Kotahi Aotearoa’ trophy features a carved wooden base representing an upturned Maori ‘waka’ canoe with a ‘mere pounamu’ — a ceremonial weapon of Maori chieftains — mounted on top.

Made specially for the tournament, the trophy was to represent the coming together of New Zealand’s five Super Rugby teams following the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

TVNZ said the trophy had suffered chips and dents to its base, with the mere becoming dislodged and temporarily lost amid the celebrations before later being recovered.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing Peter Rutherford)

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