Cooper warned about touching New Zealand's jewels
Australia and New Zealand, like any close neighbours, have a healthy disrespect for each other. But when it comes to rugby the enmity can boil over and as the Rugby World Cup rolls on, and the poor old Wallabies deal with the fallout of getting their asses kicked by Ireland, it is getting more and more interesting between the two.
Centre-stage in this is Quade Cooper. The side-stepping, pass-missing, Cian Healy-slam victim is Australia’s No 10. But he was born in New Zealand and grew up a Kiwi, only moving to Oz when he was 13 in 2001.
Hence the All Black fans like to give him a bit of abuse and the local crowd in Auckland on Saturday booed his every touch. Which was nice of them. But it is his treatment of Richie McCaw that’s really putting the cat amongst the haka.
In a Tri Nations match last month he ‘accidentally’ caught the All Black captain with his knee
And this offence has not been forgotten by the Kiwi public, and some former All Black greats like Stu Wilson.
"Anyone that touches the prize jewel in rugby - which at the moment is Richie McCaw - you start pissing around like Quade Cooper has done and you have to accept the consequences in this country," said the man who scored more than 50 tries for New Zealand in the 1970s and ‘80s. "You just don't piss with the crown jewel. Not over here, not in our back yard!"
He added Cooper could expect "raspberries for the whole tournament" if he continued with his antics.
"If he doesn't know that, and the Australian Rugby Union doesn't know that, they are dumber than I thought they were.”
I don’t know about you but that sounds like fighting talk to me. The two countries are on a collision course to meet in the semi-finals. If I was Cooper I would be very, very worried.