Richie McCow's latest prediction at the Rugby World Cup was a faux pas - but his owner says the calf could have been blindsided by France's "B team" selection.
The young Northland bull chose France over the All Blacks for Saturday's game - the first time Richie has not backed black - and his calf-hearted choice failed to pay off with the All Blacks winning 37-17.
But his owner, Kyle Underwood, said Richie was sold a canard because he made his prediction before France announced what some considered to be an understrength team for the match.
"It could have been a factor in his decision."
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Mr Underwood said the match was a "win-win situation" for him because he wanted the All Blacks to win, but also wanted Richie's prediction to be right.
Richie's fans, who have reached almost 1000 on his Support Richie McCow Facebook page, have not given up on him quite yet.
Ria Brown said the bull was "just having a 'blonde' moment".
Susan Holliday said she was glad Richie was wrong and that the All Blacks won, but hoped the calf got another chance. Ms Holliday will get her wish and the Herald will publish Richie's predictions for the New Zealand match against Canada later this week.