What’s the prob­lem with Cooper?

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT -

I’ve been em­bar­rassed by how New Zealan­ders have treated Wal­laby first five-eighth Quade Cooper dur­ing the World Cup.

At first I thought it was all a bit of a joke, this josh­ing about Cooper.

But a United States rugby player last week told me he’d been shocked to have mem­bers of the New Zealand me­dia ask his team to ‘‘get’’ Cooper when they played the Aus­tralians.

Then at Welling­ton Sta­dium I lis­tened to the ca­coph­ony of boos ev­ery time Cooper touched the ball, and es­pe­cially when he lined up kicks at goal.

What’s the prob­lem? Are we so pre­cious that we don’t like the way Cooper nee­dles the All Blacks, and es­pe­cially Richie Mc­Caw?

The All Blacks are big enough and ugly enough to look out for them­selves. They don’t need us to act like bovver boys in their de­fence.

If New Zealan­ders don’t like what Cooper does on the field, what would they have thought of some of the vi­tu­per­a­tive com­ments di­rected by Ian Chap­pell and com­pany the way of Glenn Turner in the 1970s!

It’s not as if New Zealan­ders are li­ly­white.

Sean Fitzpatrick, for ex­am­ple, al­ways had plenty of ad­vice for his op­po­site, Phil Kearns, and for any other Wal­laby in earshot.

Or is it OK if we’re dish­ing it out, but not if we’re hav­ing to take it?

I re­spect Aussie sports­men and women. They com­pete re­ally well when the pres­sure is on and have a handy habit of win­ning close matches in the dy­ing min­utes. Not al­ways, of course, but of­ten.

But what I ad­mire more is that gen­er­ally Aussies are great win­ners and great losers.

Whether it’s tennis, golf, rugby union, league, track and field, net­ball or what­ever, they gen­er­ally have things in bal­ance.

They com­pete fe­ro­ciously hard, but once the game is over, they can dis­cuss it ma­turely and there isn’t ex­ces­sive gloat­ing or sulk­ing.

I can’t say that’s been my ob­ser­va­tion with ev­ery New Zealand sports star, though there has cer­tainly been grow­ing ma­tu­rity in this area.

From my ex­pe­ri­ence, we care a lot more about beat­ing Aus­tralia than they do about us.

When I’ve been at Olympic Games or world champs, Aussie fans have al­ways seemed de­lighted for their trans-Tas­man neigh­bours’ suc­cesses.

That’s cer­tainly how I feel about them.

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