Australian rugby great Phil Kearns has weighed into the debate about racist comments directed at Blues coach Pat Lam.
Lam broke down during a media conference on Wednesday while talking about the racist abuse he has received following his side's string of losses.
Kearns, Wallabies hooker from 1989 to 1999, said he thought segments of New Zealand were "giving their whole country a bad name".
Speaking on Fox Sports, Kearns said: "I think there's a group of people in New Zealand, I'm not sure how large they are, but the treatment they gave Quade Cooper at the World Cup last year was disgraceful.
"I think they way they treated a lot of the Australians last year - tourists generally - was disgraceful.
"And I think now what they're doing, they've turned on one of their own Pat Lam, one of their great players.
"I think these portions of the New Zealand public need to take a dose of Bex [medicine] and lie down because it's disgraceful what they're doing to the game."
The comments come after Sharks coach John Plumtree described the people bashing Lam as "no hopers" who have "done nothing with their lives".
Plumtree, whose team meet the Blues in a must-win match for both sides tonight, saw a clip of Lam's breakdown and was moved by the images.
"They have had so much thrown at them this week.
"When you see Pat [Lam] under pressure emotionally on TV, I felt very sorry for him.
"That's what happens, it's unfortunate that the social media can have such an affect on a proud guy.
"My advice to him would be to forget about that. Generally the type of people who throw out that type of comment are no hopers who've done nothing with their lives anyway.
"Hopefully he won't take it personally and will get on with his job, I'm sure he will."
Plumtree, a former Wellington Lions coach, is under pressure of his own with the Sharks, normally heavily favoured, off the pace. They have won just three of their seven games and are behind their South African rivals, the Bulls and Stormers, something that doesn't sit well with the fans.
''We realise their [the Blues] situation and the pressure they're under, but we're not travelling as well as we'd like to either," said Plumtree, the former Wellington Lions coach yesterday.
"Both sides are feeling the pressure to get a result in this game. The same stuff that's happening to them here, is probably happening to us there [in South Africa], it's just that we don't see it.
"For any big franchise that's got expectations to do well and aren't, the pressure comes on, generally to the leaders and I guess that's what's happening in this case."
The Sharks have been able to recall first-five Patrick Lambie for this game but have lost Springbok hooker Bismark du Plessis, who returned to South Africa after straining his groin at training on Tuesday.