Wallabies star David Pocock has been praised for a brilliant piece of sportsmanship after helping stricken All Blacks rival Ryan Crotty during the first Test in Sydney.
The New Zealand centre was knocked out in the first half of his side’s 38-13 Bledisloe Cup win in Sydney after a sickening head clash with one of his own teammates.
Crotty fumbled a pass before hitting a defensive wall of Wallabies tacklers, as he was spun around near the Wallabies’ 22-metre line.
The Kiwi was left sprawled on the turf after the head of his centre partner Jack Goodhue collected him in the face.
Pocock was the first on the scene to attend to Crotty – who has had a history of concussions.
The Aussie number eight’s wonderful gesture was greatly appreciated by All Blacks star Sam Cane.
“It speaks pretty highly of his character and the type of guy he is if he’s willing to put the battle to one side in that moment and put the player’s welfare first,” said Cane.
“So, thank you David.”
Fans were also touched by Pocock’s classy act of concern for his Kiwi rival.
The highlight of the Bledisloe for me was the concern and patient care shown for Ryan Crotty by David Pocock. He didn't have to wait with Ryan as long as he did yet he made it his duty to look after him. Hopefully the All Blacks recognized this.
— Farmboyraver (@AndyMuir22) August 18, 2018
He is all class isn’t he? He and TJ Perenera were chatting most amicably afterwards so I think the respect is widespread
— Terry Baucher (@Trabaq) August 18, 2018
Yup; top guy; credit to the sport. Someone who actually thinks
— Sports Freak (@Sportsfreakconz) August 18, 2018
Great sportsmanship showing concern for Crotty straight away.#BledisloeCup
— Matt Back (@MattNotFront) August 18, 2018
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirmed Crotty would miss the next Test match, with regular centre partner Sonny Bill Williams already out injured.
Hansen said he would be forced to check on the fitness of Wellington Hurricanes’ Vince Aso, who has been out since May after damaging wrist ligaments during the Super Rugby season.
“The guy we’re pretty keen on is Aso, we’re trying to get an update on his about how his wrist is,” he told reporters.
Hansen said wing Rieko Ioane was sidelined after picking up a hamstring tear in Sydney.
The injuries may give Australia a glimmer of hope for next week’s must-win second Test at Eden Park, a venue where they have not tasted victory since 1986.
However, the Wallabies have their own concerns with Israel Folau also likely to be ruled out of the second Test after hobbling off in Sydney.
The. Aussies are attempting to win in Auckland for the first time in 1986 and avoid a 16th straight year of Bledisloe Cup despair.
Folau departed ANZ Stadium on crutches after suffering an ankle injury midway through the second half of Saturday night’s crushing loss.
“He’s off for scans. He’s got a pretty swollen ankle,” said Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.
“Looked like he rolled it when he went up to catch so we will see after he gets a scan exactly what the diagnosis is.”
Another loss would see New Zealand retain the Bledisloe Cup for the 16th-straight year.