May 24th, 2011
The news is not so flash for Quade Cooper.
While Richie McCaw reckons he doesn't carry grudges into matches, the openside flanker certainly hasn't forgotten the way a gloating Cooper shoved him in the head in Hong Kong last year.
Having watched Wallaby team-mate James O'Connor score a try in overtime, which he converted to give the Aussies a 26-24 win, a pumped-up Cooper celebrated by pushing All Blacks captain McCaw in the melon and then unleashed a verbal spray.
On Sunday night the pair will meet for the first time since that test when the Crusaders confront Super Rugby leaders, the Queensland Reds, at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium. Cooper could be advised to wear some more body armour just in case the New Zealand No7 locks him into his sights.
While he may not have to worry about copping a punch from McCaw, his bones could be at risk of compressing if the Crusaders skipper launches all 106kg his way in a well-executed tackle.
"Oh, I know he did that," McCaw said with a wry smile when reminded of the incident yesterday.
"Maybe I will get an opportunity one day to get a good tackle on him, but I don't get too carried away with him and those sorts of things. If you go out there chasing something like that, you can forget about what you are going to do."
The Wallabies' victory ended a 10-match losing streak to New Zealand stretching back to July 2008 and when O'Conner hoofed over the wide conversion, excited Aussie TV commentator Greg Martin bellowed at full voice: "Bring on the World Cup!"
For his part, all McCaw could do was watch as the Wallabies players went ballistic with excitement before marching his team-mates over to offer their congratulations.
Reacting to Cooper's baiting at the time, he said, was never going to be an option.
"Well I couldn't do anything about it at the time, could I, because we had just lost the game," McCaw reflected. "So you take your medicine and walk off. I don't hold grudges, I don't get too carried away because life would be a bit of hard work after a while if that was the case."
McCaw is a master at absorbing punishment.
Just a week after Cooper's gamesmanship he received a forearm to the head by England rake Dylan Hartley in London, while the Springboks have extracted their pound of flesh.
Yet McCaw has never reacted to the provocation, maintaining he had little to gain from clobbering an opponent.
"What do you get out of it? You get a sore hand and a week's break, so there is no point. You are better to let your actions do that talking and if it comes to that it is usually because someone is frustrated and you are obviously doing your job right.
"Especially as captain, you can't afford to put yourself in that position, I don't think." Asked when he had last had a fight, he paused for a few seconds and admitted the question had him stonkered.
"I can't even remember. I don't think I have ever thrown one. I think I tried one day and hit a hard head and hurt my wrist – so that probably wasn't a good idea."