Wednesday Nov 17, 2010
A gloating Quade Cooper's shove after the Wallabies match-winning try in Hong Kong, Dylan Hartley's forearm to the head at Twickenham - for Richie McCaw it goes with the territory as one of international rugby's most wanted.
So, five months after Irish No 8 Jamie Heaslip brazenly kneed the All Blacks captain in the back, McCaw barely recalls the incident ahead of presumably their next encounter at Aviva Stadium here on Sunday (NZT).
McCaw was annoyed Hartley, England's Rotorua-born hooker, avoided being cited for his apparent act of foul play during New Zealand's Grand Slam opening victory on November 7 - particularly after Keven Mealamu was banned for a fortnight after recklessly striking Lewis Moody with his head.
But with Heaslip being sent off and subsequently copping a five-week suspension for his moment of madness in New Plymouth - 15 minutes into Ireland's 66-28 defeat - McCaw had practically forgotten the unsavoury incident.
"Those things sometimes happen on the field so you just move on," said McCaw, who is poised to set a new record of All Black test caps of 93 against Ireland, possibly with fullback Mils Muliaina.
"I don't get carried away and I definitely don't carry grudges," he said.
"I can put that stuff away and get on with the game."The world's leading openside flanker and irritant at a breakdown, McCaw could not remember Heaslip's indiscretion, just the repercussions.
"I haven't seen the tape, but he probably wishes he didn't do it, he ended up off the field."
Crusaders teammate Kieran Read said that attitude typified McCaw, a skipper on the verge of eclipsing the legendary Sean Fitzpatrick's 92 tests.
"It will be a remarkable achievement for him," Read said.
"Teams go after him .... it just shows how good he's been and how well he's looked after his body.
"He'd be one of the toughest in the team. You're not going to be able to be a No 7 without being able to get hit.
"He's not worried about getting hit or getting hurt. He still puts his body on the line."
McCaw, 29, made his test debut at Lansdowne Rd during the 2001 end of year tour - the All Blacks won 40-29 - and was looking forward to playing at the remodelled home of Irish rugby.
"The Irish game will be the first time we have played at the new stadium, so that will be special," he said.
History suggests the All Blacks will prolong their 105-year unbeaten record against the Irish, not that McCaw was taking victory for granted.
"The last time we played in June we only had the better of things in the first half (after Heaslip was sent off).
They played most of the rugby in the second half and scored some (four) good tries.
"So we know that if we don't turn up with the right attitude, we will have a tough day. I've never had an easy win in Dublin."