Last night the Crusaders showed that, despite the doubters, they are still the team to watch at the business end of a Super Rugby competition. This knock-out game was 4th versus 5th which, in theory, should have been a tight one.
But no, the home side were back to their Deans Era best; overcoming the 2011 champions by 38-9. However, that other side of New Zealand rugby was shown up.
The really strange case of the booing of Quade Cooper.
It was not isolated. It was incessant, it was cheap and ugly and it cast a shadow over the match. Like a nasty sea of vuvuzelas.
So why all this Quadehate? Is it because we think he’s a traitor? That would be a bit strange given he was 15 when he moved to Australia. And, as any rugby commentator will tell you he’s not good enough to make the All Blacks anyway.
Perhaps it because he comes across as a bit flashy. The tattoos might wind some people up, but it would be just a touch hypocritical if that was to be the reason.
He kneed McCaw in the back once after play had had stopped. And McCaw got angry, and team-mates came running in to tell Cooper off. Perhaps that’s it. As much as McCaw is revered he is pretty handy at the dark arts of niggling pushing the boundaries of the law himself.
That was a few years ago now; there has been a Rugby World Cup and many sabbaticals since then. And the theory was that finally getting to win the World Cup again was meant to lift the national angst.
So the whole thing a bit of a mystery, and a cringe worthy one at that. It became the thing to do during RWC2011 and it was pretty embarrassing then. But people had their minds elsewhere so it got brushed under the carpet then. But two years have passed and last night’s boorish cacophony took it to new levels.
So Wellington. You host a Bledisloe Cup test in a month and the chances are good that Cooper will be playing. Make a stand and break the cycle; normal people are sick of squirming.