The day All Blacks legend Richie McCaw throttled pitch invader to protect referee - Ruck

The day All Blacks legend Richie McCaw throttled pitch invader to protect referee

We took a trip down memory lane with Richie McCaw, to look at one of the dumbest days in rugby fandom when infamous beer-bellied pitch invader Piet van Zyl tackled the referee in an All Blacks clash with the Springboks

As a fresh-faced McCaw took to the field, little did he know that he would bear witness to a bizarre incident involving an unfortunate referee, David McHugh, and a crazed Springbok fan.

In the early stages of the second half, the inebriated South African spectator, van Zyl, grew discontented with McHugh’s decision-making and decided to take matters into his own hands.

Having previously awarded the All Blacks a penalty try for a high tackle on Tana Umaga and disallowed a South African try by Breyton Paulse due to an interference call on James Dalton, McHugh became the target of van Zyl’s frustrations.

The hefty, beer-bellied South African, squeezed into a Springbok jersey a few sizes too small, seized McHugh and wrestled him to the ground.

In the midst of this chaotic scene, a young McCaw, only in his ninth test match, swiftly sprang into action. Joining forces with a couple of Springboks, he intervened and forcefully removed the assailant from the field, ensuring that order was restored.

One fan wrote: “First to the breakdown as always. Captain Macaw to the rescue.”

Another said: “Richie actually thought that a Springbok had had enough of the ref and decided to assault him.”

A third commented: “

Richie McCaw throttles pitch invader

 Richie McCaw names most hated players he faced during career

ALL BLACKS legend Richie McCaw has named the most hated players he faced on the pitch.

He earned a then world-record 148 caps for the All Blacks, winning 131 of those games and captaining his country 111 times. 

Lifting the 2011 World Cup in his backyard was a fitting tribute to one of the greatest ever All Blacks, but he went on to secure true legendary status as he continued for four more years, breaking record after record and uniquely hoisting the Webb Ellis trophy for a second time.

It was to be a perfect ending not just to his international career but also his playing career, as he confirmed his retirement from the game immediately afterwards.

#1. Lewis Moody (England)

Position Back-row

Height 6 ft 3 in

Weight 225 lb

Caps 71

Moody was known for the enthusiasm with which he plays the game, his willingness to chase down opponents and his ability to compete for possession at restarts, earning him the nickname “Mad Dog” from teammates and supporters.

Richie McCaw said: “I had got a lot of respect for the way he played, he threw himself into a lot of it.

“Moody was a little bit different to most flankers – he was also a ball carrier and he could put a lot of pressure on backlines.”

DID YOU KNOW? n August 2014, Moody was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September’s referendum on that issue