Michael Hooper has taken a stand to support Quade Cooper against the “below the belt” reception given by All Black supporters.
Michael Hooper has taken a stand to support his team-mate as he labelled the continuing rowdy reception given to Quade Cooper as “unreasonable” and “below the belt”.
Cooper has never been a fan favourite in New Zealand, the country of his birth, after pledging his loyalty to Australia. His popularity with New Zealand supporters really plummeted though after on-field incidents scuffles with the darling of All Black rugby, Richie McCaw. Following his run-ins with Cooper, McCaw wrote in his 2012 autobiography that “players like Quade get sorted”.
The likes of McCaw and Dan Carter have called on fans to stop the booing following the 2011 World Cup, but Cooper again received a hostile reception on Saturday night in Sydney when he replaced Matt Toomua in the second half of the opening Rugby Championship clash.
Hooper let his feelings known about Cooper after Australia's heavy defeat in Sydney on Saturday.
“I think it's quite unreasonable what the All Black supporters are doing to him,” he said.
“He's a great player and a great guy so I think everyone who enjoys footy wants to see him do well.”
“I think the booing's a bit below-the-belt sort of stuff. He deserves more than that as a player.”
“He's got more to bring. I think with more time on the field, and the performances that he can put on there, that will change and the booing will go because people will want to see him play. He's very exciting.”
The Wallaby open-side flank concluded by hinting that if the unsporting behaviour of the New Zealand supporters does not cease, it may in fact bring the best out of the unpredictable fly-half.
“I can't comment for him, but personally something like that would spur you on, so I think he's got it under control.”