McCaw a 'cheat', 'cynical', 'dumb'

11:07 am on 21 September 2015

Richie McCaw doesn't often put a foot wrong, but his sin-binning for a trip in the All Blacks' opening Rugby World Cup match has got his detractors crying foul once again.

Richie McCaw (L) walks off the pitch after receiving a yellow card at the 2015 Rugby World Cup game against Argentina at Wembley on September 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS

Richie McCaw does the walk of shame to the sideline Photo: AFP

The All Blacks won at Wembley today but a lot of the focus was on McCaw's blatant transgression, which earned him just his third-ever yellow card.

Fellow veteran Conrad Smith also earned a spell in the naughty chair for a tackle in the air, reducing the New Zealanders to 13 players for a short time in their 26-16 victory against Argentina.

McCaw was on the ground at the back of a ruck when he swung a boot out to trip up Pumas star Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe - earning him the ire of many in the world record crowd of almost 90,000 fans at Wembley.

"It was the only time referee Wayne Barnes made use of the TMO and it did its job," the UK's Daily Mail reported.

"Off went McCaw to the derision of the Argentines and the locals."

In fact McCaw was relentlessly booed from that point, including during his post-match on-field interview.

"He's a Saint in New Zealand, where Prime Minister John Key is practically falling over himself in a desperate bid to knight him. The rest of the rugby world, however, reckons Richie McCaw's a bit of a cheat," said a piece published by Fox Sports in Australia.

Fox also said that former England flanker Lewis Moody believed McCaw should have been red-carded for the trip.

"The boos that rang round Wembley told their own tale" UK newspaper The Telegraph breathlessly proclaimed. "McCaw has been fortunate to escape before. Not this time."

New Zealand's Stuff website called the foot-trip "cynical" and "a blatant foul" - "an indiscretion performed out in the open rather than the dark secrets that have frustrated opposition and foreign media and fuelled his reputation as a man who has pushed the rules to the absolute limits".

Richie McCaw heads to the sin bin during the Rugby World Cup match between New Zealand and Argentina.

Richie McCaw heads to the sin bin during the Rugby World Cup match between New Zealand and Argentina. Photo: PhotoSport

And even his own coach thought the trip was "dumb", with Steven Hansen dubbing it and Smith's aerial tackle "a little brain explosion".

But Hansen also said the booing of his captain was nothing unusual in the Northern Hemisphere.

"It's normal over here. It's been happening for years. We'll take it for what it is, a mark of respect against a great player."

"You don't get booed unless you're any good. If you're no good, no-one cares."

It was only the third time McCaw had been yellow carded in 143 Tests, and the man himself admitted he made a dumb mistake and couldn't blame the crowd for getting stuck into him either.

"I was sitting in the sin-bin at the time so I didn't really have a lot of comeback with that. You can't worry about those sort of things, it is what it is," he said.

Social media naturally exploded.

Inevitably, trenchant All Blacks critic Stephen Jones also weighed in:

McCaw had his loyal defenders of course:

Some Tweeters were funnier than others though:

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