They say any publicity is good publicity and on that basis the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific trophy is a smash hit.
The silverware was proudly unveiled ahead of this weekend’s quarter finals, with organizers proudly announcing that the 54cm tall trophy was “the result of about 1000 hours of 3D printing, believed to be a first for an international professional rugby tournament.”
Social media had a field day opining on its artistic merits and Andrew Mehrtens – a five-time Super Rugby champion – also had strong views on the latest edition of Stan Sport’s Between Two Posts.
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“I don’t want to get too critical but does it appear as a rugby trophy straight off the bat or does it appear as something else?” Mehrtens weighted.
“I thought of Toy Story. I’m massive Toy Story fan, Buzz Lightyear and Woody going up against Zurg. Zarg was Carl Hayman, the former All Black prop. Nothing to do with Zurg, maybe his cousin.
“But it looks like (Zurg) with the big evil collar on, other people have been less kind about what it looks like.
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“But I don’t think it matters. Whatever captain wins that trophy will be happy to raise it.”
Between Two Posts’ Sean Maloney also had thoughts.
“For me it has touches of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse, it has a cape feel to it. But whoever gets a chance to get a couple of hands on it and really party with it, good luck to them,” Maloney said.
Sean Maloney and Andrew Mehrtens look back on an amazing final round of Super Rugby Pacific and are joined by sevens world champion Dom du Toit
Super Rugby said that the “Pacific blue cloak which wraps around the Super Rugby Pacific logo embossed ball is representative of a Pacific Ocean wave reflecting the entry of Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua to the competition for the first time in 2022.”
New Zealand artist Dave Burke added that the trophy’s oceanic qualities had “comparisons to the aspirations of the competition and the ways teams play.”
Artistic qualities aside, Mehrtens hoped the new trophy would hold up practically when the winning team celebrated after the June 18 final.
“The important thing, and I’ve learned from experience, is this trophy has to be robust,” Mehrtens said.
“Because in the first couple of our titles – listen to the arrogance of that, the first couple – we assigned Norm Maxwell to look after the trophy.
“And it came out the night after the final, came out with us, and unfortunately when the trophy got to the parade in Christchurch on the Monday morning, it was minus the base, minus one of the handles, it was beaten up and bent over.
“It’s a dangerous role to play and the trophy does need to be robust.”
The quarter finals kick off on Friday with the Reds taking on the Crusaders in Christchurch in a rematch of last weekend’s 28-15 loss.
The resurgent Waratahs then meet the Chiefs in Hamilton in the first of a Saturday triple header that also features Blues vs Highlanders in Auckland then Brumbies vs Hurricanes in Canberra.
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