Piping hot Richie McCaw wows charity bash

Last updated 05:00 14/08/2011
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PHOTOSPORT
Pied piper: Richie McCaw's bagpipes cameo for charity charmed the fans.
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All a-twitter: Nicola Grigg says she and McCaw are focusing on their careers.

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All Blacks captain Richie McCaw had to blow in the bag on Friday night and it brought tears to a few eyes when he did.

But the outstanding loosie wasn't in trouble with the law, instead he was making his debut as a bagpiper in a performance at Auckland's Langham Hotel to support the Black Friday Trust Dinner and Charity Auction.

The several hundred people at the event were told only that there was a special guest performance.

Most were rocked to their well-heeled feet when they realised the identity of the mystery solo artist when McCaw entered the function playing the pipes.

As the spotlight brightened and he advanced on the stage, audible gasps went out, while there were reports of a few tears in the house at his moving rendition of "Amazing Grace".

Fellow All Black Ali Williams was the other star at a function that raised thousands of dollars for spinal research, with an outstanding turn helping with the auction. His father suffered a spinal injury and is confined to a wheelchair.

Meanwhile as the airwaves filled with angry callers raging over the price of the adidas jersey last week, the story moved on to a tweet by 30-year-old broadcaster Nicola Grigg, who dated McCaw earlier this year. They went their separate ways in July but remain good friends.

Grigg tweeted: "Why the hell shd @adidas change its prices?? It's like me telling Louis V I won't buy their bags anymore bcos they're too $$$."

Now working at Auckland's Radio Network, Grigg couldn't believe it when her tweet was splashed all over the Herald newspaper.

"Clearly the comment was made tongue-in-cheek. Of course I understand the issues surrounding the adidas pricing debate – but that's obviously difficult to communicate in a 140-character tweet," she said.

"The only point I was making in last week's tweet was that suppliers set a price, and if we as consumers feel it is too expensive – be it a car, a bag or clothing – nobody is forcing us to buy it."

Grigg says the Herald story said she was "Richie's girlfriend", which meant she was subjected to a barrage of attention over the notion she and McCaw were still partners.

"My comments and opinions are mine, and mine alone – they are not influenced by anybody else. I tweeted as a person of no interest to the general public and the fact that it's caused such a – largely – vitriolic response, astounded me."

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While the pair are no longer seeing each other, they are still friendly.

"Richie's focusing on his career and I am on mine. I admire and respect him, and support him 100%," she said.

"There's been plenty of speculation over my personal life but I've never spoken to the media – it's private and it will remain so.

"But the amount of untrue statements that have been made about me in recent months is incredible – from weekend tabloids to national dailies.

"I'm not sure when it became OK for journalists to publish conjecture without checking the facts."

Grigg, who has a background in broadcasting and marketing, has worked around the world.

She was in Queenstown covering the Winter Games for a TV show this weekend.

- Sunday Star Times

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