New Zealand
Keven Mealamu lifts lid on lineout abuse
November 18, 2014
We felt the pressure - McCaw

All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu has lifted the lid on crowd abuse when throwing in to Test match lineouts.

Mealamu won't name grounds but says he has been the victim of crowd insults when standing on the sideline, particularly at stadia where spectators are close to the field of play. "There's a couple of stadiums around the world where the crowd's quite close and you can hear pretty vivid what they're saying - not just advice on throwing the ball in," Mealamu said on Monday.

Asked if he recalled any funny remarks, Mealamu nominated a less than pleasant experience. "Someone made some comment about my mother. It was just amazing. You just have to stay really cool and make sure you nail your job. There's no time to turn around and tell them to sort it out."

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Mealamu couldn't help but react to one disgruntled home fan late in a Super Rugby game for the Blues against the Bulls in Pretoria two years ago. He was struck in the head with a plastic bottle, prompting a confrontation the spectator, who was later arrested.

The venerable hooker says he has had no such problem at Millennium Stadium, the scene of his Test debut in 2002 and where the All Blacks face Wales on Saturday. The cavernous venue is too loud to hear individual sideline comments, he said.

"Being in an enclosed stadium, you feel the energy a lot more. There's nowhere for the sound to escape, so it's bouncing off every wall." His 123rd Test will lift Mealamu to 362 first class games, moving him ahead of the record formerly held by locking great Sir Colin Meads.


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