Wyatt Crockett says he's not a dirty player
Wyatt Crockett insists he's not a dirty player.
The massive loosehead prop may be nicknamed "Crockzilla" by his Crusaders team-mates, but they insist he's a gentle giant.
But beady-eyed Super Rugby officials are beginning to disagree.
Yesterday, Crockett collected his second yellow card in less than a month when marched to the cooler by referee Bryce Lawrence for an "intentional shoulder charge" on Reds halfback Will Genia midway through the second half.
Having galloped across to make a covering tackle on Genia, Crockett launched himself just before he kicked the ball. Genia hit the deck as if he had just been bricked and assistant referee Kane McBride flung out his flag.
A brief discussion between McBride and Lawrence ensued, a penalty was awarded to the Reds and Crockett was told to take a hike.
AMI Stadium may be the Crusaders' new citadel, but it is proving an unhappy hunting ground for Crockett.
When the Crusaders met the Stormers on April 14 he was punished by referee Chris Pollock for a dubious high tackle.
"I think most people who know me, know I am not a dirty player," Crockett said.
"It certainly wasn't malicious.
"I saw him at the last second try to make a kick and tried to throw an arm out to go for the charge down. I tried to pull out of it."
Although Mike Harris kicked the penalty to give the Reds a 11-9 lead, the 14-man Crusaders, who replaced blindside flanker George Whitelock with Ben Franks so scrums could be contested, did not leak any more points in Crockett's absence.
Crockett's return inside the crucial final 10 minutes coincided with the Crusaders forcing replacement wing Rod Davies into making a dreadful error, when he was tackled by Dan Carter and trapped inside his own 22m, and earning another vital penalty for Tom Taylor to kick.
A month ago Crockett had never copped a yellow card in his life and when Lawrence reached for his pocket he felt a thumping in his chest.
"Your heart sinks. You know the team is going to be down," he said.