Should Quade Cooper apologise for his past indiscretions against Richie McCaw?
OPINION: The solution is very simple, Quade. Front up and apologise.
Admit you were wrong and the dreaded booing may cease.
Until then, though, tell your teammates and coach to give up the sympathy pleas. Leave them at your adopted home. Nothing will change in Wellington this weekend. The same hostile reception awaits. Why should it be any different? Why should anybody feel sorry for Cooper?
In the last two years he's shown no remorse; offered no retraction of the self appointed public enemy No 1 title. He brought this on himself. And, if he doesn't express some form of regret soon, he may never shake that tag in this country.
How could we forget, his claims of a toxic environment were also a major factor in pushing out Kiwi coach Robbie Deans.
Publically face up to your antics, Quade. Only then may All Blacks' supporters, eventually, lay off and give you a fair go. It's that easy.
The chorus of boos in the Super Rugby playoff in Christchurch and last week's Bledisloe Cup mauling in Sydney - it wouldn't surprise me if NSW fans chimed in there too - may not be in the spirit of the game. Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper described it as "unreasonable" and "bellow the belt". Hmm. Short memory, huh?
Slapping All Blacks captain Richie McCaw in the closing stages of Wallabies' rare win in Hong Kong personified arrogance. Kneeing the same icon in the head was downright dirty. The fact Cooper went unsanctioned was even worse.
Targeting McCaw once was questionable. Twice was dumb, boofhead tactics.
Growing up in Tokoroa you would assume Cooper had some grasp of Kiwi culture. He certainly should know better. McCaw is a symbol of New Zealand's ethos. He's more respected than the Prime Minister. The nation is not about to forgive and forget just because a few Australians think it's time to move on.
No-one can blame those who refuse to let this grudge go. They are merely standing up for their captain. Those avoidable incidents with McCaw are the root cause of Cooper's problems. Comparatively, he's got off lightly. Imagine if he tried these stunts playing football in Europe - he'd be lucky to be alive.
From a young age we are taught to accept our mistakes. Cooper hasn't learnt that lesson, or at least portrayed he has. His Tokoroa-based grandmother would do well to remind her mokopuna of those values.
Maybe Australia's golden state corrupted him. All that sun can muddle the thought process. Fellow timber town products Richard Kahui and Keven Mealamu couldn't be more humble personalities.
Cooper says he's not bothered by the boos. Ewen McKenzie's reaction paints a completely different picture. The Wallabies coach has accused New Zealanders of a mob mentality. Yes, Ewen, we stick together. That's nothing new, mate.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, fullback Israel Dagg and wing Julian Savea have, in various ways, supported the odd "stop booing Quade" campaign.
Privately, Hansen won't mind fans adding to McKenzie's concerns.
After last week's demolition the supposed Wallabies saviour has got enough to keep him occupied.
Protecting his high maintenance villain from relentless Kiwi fans is the last thing he needs.
- © Fairfax NZ News