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Cooper knee was deliberate - Henry

Published: 6:17PM Monday August 29, 2011 Source: ONE Sport

  • Graham Henry announces the 2011 Rugby World Cup squad (Source: ONE News)
    Graham Henry announces the 2011 Rugby World Cup squad - Source: ONE News

The All Blacks have shown their dismay after Quade Cooper was let off for kneeing captain Richie McCaw in the head during their Tri Nations clash in Brisbane on Saturday night.

The judicial officer ruled on the "balance of probabilities" that the Wallabies playmaker's knee had accidentally made contact with McCaw's head during the second half of the All Blacks' 25-20 loss.

However All Blacks coach Graham Henry saw it differently and had no hesitation in sharing his version of events.

"I thought he deliberately kneed Richie McCaw in the face and I think everybody else did too," Henry told ONE News at the All Blacks' launch in Auckland today.

"I'm very surprised at the result of the judicial hearing, let's put it that way, but let's not dwell on that there's much more important things to focus on and we need to move on and focus on the things that we can control."

It wasn't the only time McCaw had appeared to have been targeted in the match, with Cooper grabbing him off the ball and another player kneeing him in the back earlier in the match.

The event has re-fuelled media talk of a rivalry between the pair, which began when Cooper shoved McCaw in the back of the head following the match-winning try in the Hong Kong Bledisloe Test last year.

The All Blacks captain was diplomatic when discussing the incident today and realises he is likely to be targeted by opposition teams during the World Cup.

"Nothing amazes me anymore to be perfectly honest. Whether that's the case (I'm being targeted) or not you can't go on worrying about that, you go in getting stuck in and if things like that come your way you just accept that that's the way it is and you let other people deal with it," McCaw said.

McCaw, who sported several battle scars at the team launch today, did little to retaliate on the field and said he was unsure of the best way to prevent it happening in the future.

"It's a tough one and I don't have the answer to be honest. I think we've got a thing in the team that you back each other up and you don't stand for that and I'm not saying that we just roll over, but we don't be stupid where it's going to endanger the team so it's getting that balance right.

"You saw Thorny's (Brad Thorn's) reaction to it, he wasn't going to stand for it so it's cool to know the boys have got your back."

Despite Cooper getting off scot-free from the incident, the mild-mannered McCaw said it wasn't worth retaliating in those situations.

"That's not going to achieve much is it? Except for a holiday and you don't want that."

Perhaps McCaw's best retaliation would be to lift the Webb Ellis Cup at Eden Park on October 23.

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