All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has admitted in his new autobiography that his personal feud with Quade Cooper turned nasty.
In his autobiography, The Open Side, which was released on Tuesday, the record-breaking All Black flank revealed he regrets letting his on-field battle with the Wallabies fly-half last year become personal.
"There was a bit of post-game controversy around Quade Cooper's attempt to knee me in the head as he was extricating himself from a ruck," McCaw wrote.
"The intent of what he was trying to do pissed me off more than the execution. Shortly after that happened, I was carrying and should have passed, but I lit up and I saw Quade standing in front of me and clattered into him instead.
"I was disappointed in myself doing that, letting it get personal. There's no need - players like Quade get sorted. Sooner or later they get their beans."
McCaw also reveals that he backed Graham Henry to be reappointed as All Blacks coach ahead of Robbie Deans, under whom he played at the Crusaders, because he questioned Deans' ability to work collaboratively.
"Robbie doesn't appear to want to be challenged by his assistants and won't allow the kind of full-on debate that Ted [Henry] encourages with [Wayne] Smith and [Steve] Hansen," reads one extract.
"Robbie's approach is to say, 'This is what we're doing,' then convince people that's the way it's got to be. He's very good at that.
"But when you look at the record of Robbie's assistant coaches, there's quite a lot of turnover and fallout. Robbie's intransigence and reluctance to delegate might have been a factor ... if you look at the names of some of Robbie's assistants. Colin Cooper, Vern Cotter, Don Hayes, Todd Blackadder. It's tempting to draw the conclusion that if Robbie gets a strong assistant coach, the assistant won't last, and if he gets one that lasts, he's not that strong.
"The applications in front of the NZRU are telling. Robbie hasn't named his assistants, though [then Auckland coach] Pat Lam's has been mentioned in some reports. But Pat hasn't coached at Super 14 level yet. So the question actually is: Graham Henry, Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen or Robbie Deans and unknown assistant coaches? That's a critical difference right there.
"...so when [NZRU CEO] Steve Tew phones me for an informal catch-up on this and that, I tell him I'm happy to work with either, but I do have a view on which option might be better for the All Blacks."