Melbourne Rebels halfback Nic Stirzake was suspended for one match by the SANZAR judiciary on Sunday afternoon on clear evidence that the he “paused and lifted his leg high, before applying a vertical stamp to the groin area” of Crusaders star Richie McCaw.
Now once upon a time, Cooper Quade was the most unpopular player ever to tour New Zealand. Reason: a knee to the head of Richie McCaw, the most revered rugby player in New Zealand history. This cheap shot was not forgotten or forgiven by the New Zealand Rugby public.
But now Nic Stirzake has taken over as Public Villain Number One and you can expect treatment similar to that handed out to Cooper Quade. But it is not the response of the NZ crowds that young Nic should be worried about. Its this:
I’m sure that Richie McCaw is not a vindictive man but he is one of the most ruthlessly efficient and experienced open side flankers that the world has ever seen and personally I wouldn’t want him to come looking for me.
But it’s Richie’s mates that Nic Stirzake should be worried about. All big blokes.
Now, if you”re a halfback, and a little bloke, you really don’t want to be involved in gratuitous violence against someone like Richie McCaw.