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Fans and family of players gathered at Dunedin Airport from about 10.20am and a small flight delay kept the crowd in some suspense as it chanted "Otago".
Then captain Michael Collins brought in the Log o' Wood and shared it with some young fans.
Aaron Hill (10), from Abbotsford School, said it was special to be a part of the shield's arrival in Otago.
"Not a lot of people can hold this," he said.
Felix Newell (11), from Fairfield School, said the shield was "really heavy".
He did not actually watch the game.
"My dad told me the highlights."
Otago defeated Taranaki 30-19 yesterday.
Its first shield defence is against Hawke's Bay at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Sunday.