McCaw 'puzzled' by Cooper rants

Sat, 29 Sep 2012 07:01
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Quade Cooper's outbursts against the Wallabies and ARU has drawn criticism from All Black captain Richie McCaw.

Controversial flyhalf Quade Cooper's outbursts against the Wallabies and Australian Rugby Unions has drawn criticism from All Black captain Richie McCaw.

The enigmatic No.10, Cooper, claims coach Robbie Deans is running a 'toxic' environment that is hurting him as a player and a person.

McCaw said that he finds Cooper's comments odd.

"Yeah I can't understand someone going on like that, but that's just the way it is I suppose," McCaw said ahead of New Zealand's Rugby Championship encounter with Argentina in Del Plata on Saturday.

McCaw added that he felt "from a team point of view" there will be some support for the ranting Cooper.

Cooper's criticism of Australia's boring play and accusation the Wallabies were a "toxic environment" has also turned heads in Argentina.

The New Zealand skipper, McCaw, said he has great respect for his former Crusaders coach, Deans, and stand-in Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe and firmly believed both would ensure Australia responds in fine fashion against South Africa at Loftus Versfeld.

"If I know anything, a team like that, they'll be in Pretoria and be pretty tight about getting the job done," McCaw said.

"I know guys like Nathan Sharpe, they're good rugby men, they're proud men, they'll be doing everything they can to ensure their environment works.

"I guess sometimes with peripheral stuff you can't worry about it. I'm sure that's exactly what Robbie will be emphasising."

Asked if that's the way Cooper was, McCaw said: "Seems to be doesn't it ... I don't really know the guy so who knows?"

There's little love lost between the pair as they've held a long-running battle since they first clashed in the 2010 Bledisloe Test in Hong Kong when Cooper shoved McCaw in the head after James O'Connor scored a last-gasp match-winning try.

The Wallaby flyhalf, who was also exonerated for kneeing McCaw after a ruck in the Tri-Nations decider last year, has never made excuses for his actions, and suggested the All Blacks flank was a wily culprit for niggling tactics.

For the time being, the Australian Rugby Union has put the heat on Cooper to decide his future after he warned he wouldn't play for the Wallabies again if changes weren't made.

The 38-Test flyhalf has delayed signing a new contract offer tabled in July - a month after he signed a three-year Super Rugby deal with Queensland.

"The reality is a decision on whether or not he stays in Australian Rugby has to this point rested with him since he received an ARU offer in early July," said ARU boss John O'Neill.

Sources: 3News, NZ Newswire & Newstalk ZB