"Complete jubilation'' is how Mount Aspiring College pupil
and Otago rugby fanatic Josh Roberts (16) summed up his
emotions since the team's historic Ranfurly Shield win last
Josh, named by his parents after former Otago rugby great
Josh Kronfeld, was among hundreds of Wanaka primary and
secondary pupils who had the chance to hold the famed Log o'
Wood yesterday during the first stop on the fourth day of its
whirlwind tour through regional Otago.
Described by his First XV rugby coach Hamish Crosbie as a
''rugby nut whose whole life revolves around rugby'', it was
no surprise Josh was one of the first in line for a
photograph with the shield.
Otago's on-field efforts on Friday made for ''the greatest
day of my life'', Josh said.
While in Wanaka, ORFU community rugby manager Richard Perkins
and Otago players Marshall Suckling, Tony Ensor, Hugh Blake
and Jackson Hemopo called in at the home of Shona Johnstone,
widow of former All Black and Otago captain Peter Johnstone.
''We got there and Shona brought out all of the memorabilia
and photos that she had when he was presented with the
shield, taking it off [Southland] in 1947,'' Mr Perkins said.
At Arrowtown School, the group was treated to a heroes'
welcome from the entire school, staff and some parents.
Despite being almost an hour behind schedule, players were in
no rush, signing autographs and posing for photographs while
every pupil at the school had their photo taken with the
Among those at the next stop, the Speight's Ale House in
Queenstown, was Lindsay Reid (77), who was called in to the
Otago side for the 1957 game as an emergency reserve.
Of last Friday night's history-making game, Mr Reid said it
was ''pretty exciting''.
After refuelling and yet more photographs, the players took
another detour - this time with the Helicopter Line pilot
Dave Matthews, flying to the top of the Remarkables for some
fun in the snow, before being dropped off in Cromwell.
Former All Black Don Clark, of Bannockburn, played 90-odd
games for Otago but never challenged for the shield and
yesterday in Cromwell was the first time he had touched the
Log o' Wood.
Mr Clark (73) was confident Otago would retain the shield
after Sunday's challenge and said the side played brilliantly
last Friday night.
''It's been a marvellous week for Otago and it's brilliant to
see them touring the shield around all the little places. The
difference with this Otago side is a lot of the boys are
home-grown boys and they're playing for the jersey and not
for the money.''
Rugby-playing Cromwell College pupils performed a haka to
welcome the Otago players and shield, watched by several
hundred people who gathered in Anderson Park.
The tour ended in Roxburgh last night and the team will be
reunited with the shield in Dunedin today.