Quade Cooper's grandmother won't have anyone bad-mouthing her mokopuna and reckons the country should get over the latest Richie McCaw incident during the Rugby World Cup.
Millie Cooper, 76, of Kaikohe, is sweet, but ask her about the treatment her 23-year-old grandson gets - yesterday he was labelled a "boofhead" by Wallaby great Nick Farr-Jones for his running onfield baiting of the All Black captain - and she turns on a frontrower's capacity for straight talk.
"They said Quadey kneed Richie McCaw's head. They see the bad part but they didn't see who was pushing him ... build a bridge and get over it.
"It seems there's a little bit of jealousy both here and over in Aussie but as long as his teammates get on well - bugger the rest."
Mrs Cooper says the Quade she knows isn't arrogant, which is why it confuses her to hear him referred to as "Public Enemy No 1".
"He's not a whakahihi [arrogant] boy, you know, he loves children and he loves the old people - he's got patience to be with young and old."
She says Cooper is like his five siblings - "lovely".
The Far North grandmother of 10 is looking forward to catching up with the wider Cooper whanau at a planned Christmas reunion.
Missing will be her husband, Nesbit, who died in 2006 but was very close to Quade, Mrs Cooper said. The rugby player, of Ngapuhi descent, has his grandfather's name tattooed on his left arm.
"He rang his granddad when he was first picked for an Australian side. He said 'granddad, how would you feel if I told you I'm playing for Australia? His granddad said 'go for it boy'."
The All Blacks do not feature in her armchair cheering, she joked. "No, I go for my moko now."
Meanwhile, Cooper yesterday said Farr-Jones had also said his team would end up in the final against the All Blacks.
He was then asked variations of the same question: "What did he make of his pantomime villain status, was he public enemy number one, was he feeling any love in New Zealand?"
Cooper unsuccessfully tried to veer the conversation back to rugby or his teammates. In the end, though, he said: "To be honest, I don't really care."
He said his grandmother, like the rest of his New Zealand-based family from Tai Tokerau to Wellington, loved it that he was playing here.
"I think [they're] more proud of the fact that I'm doing something that I love, as anyone would know ... if someone in your family is doing something they love and doing well then you're going to be proud of them."
In Tokoroa, where he lived until he moved to Brisbane in his early teens, there isn't a bad word to be said about him.
His former PE teacher at Forest View High, Denise Hein, said it would stay that way no matter the tournament outcome.
She said they were proud that someone from a small town had risen to that level and he still had a lot of connections with the South Waikato town, which is well-known for breeding elite rugby players.
"A lot of our kids when they go over there ... they will go and stay with him. He still keeps in contact with a lot of people here."
Cooper lived in Morven Cres, Tokoroa, at the same time as All Black Richard Kahui.