But the impact the crowd is having on referees is a greater concern for All Blacks.

One week on and the All Blacks are still shell-shocked at the venomous onslaught to which they were subjected at Twickenham - the disrespect shown to captain Richie McCaw one of many concerns.

The treatment of McCaw, who was relentlessly booed during the game and then drowned out when he was interviewed after being named man of the match, troubles the All Blacks on two fronts.

The lack of respect was stunning and, while New Zealand crowds don't always conduct themselves impeccably, a visiting captain has never been subjected to 80 minutes of barracking and accusations of cheating.

As captain of the world champions and a contender to be considered one of the greatest players of all time, McCaw has every right to expect a good reception wherever he plays.


His standing is being undermined by buffoons who have decided that everything he does is contrary to the law.

It's a regrettable situation for a game that prides itself on values of unity, brotherhood and respect.

McCaw was brilliant against England and, yet, his every act was jeered. So much money spent on tickets, so much tremendous rugby to enjoy and so many English fans missed it because they were on a crusade to needlessly and jealously pillory a man who has somehow managed to be at the peak of his craft for 15 professional seasons. It's a feat that is scarcely believable, particularly for an openside, may never be repeated and should be admired and celebrated by global audiences.

What concerns the All Blacks ahead of the World Cup is that crowds are going to influence referees. In the current environment, that can hardly be dismissed as fanciful.

Come the World Cup, what will happen? Maybe this: McCaw makes a strong run - he's booed. McCaw makes a good tackle - he's booed. McCaw pulls off the perfect turnover - he's booed. And then penalised.

It's not that anyone can pretend referees aren't being swayed by video footage and crowd reaction at the moment and if there is one guarantee about the World Cup, it's that anything and everything McCaw does at the tackled ball area will be considered cheating by virtually everyone outside New Zealand.

That's what happened at Twickenham, where the All Blacks will be hoping to play in the semifinal and final.

And it could be - really could be - that they play England in the final. Given what happened last weekend, they can only hope things are vastly different at the World Cup. The vile treatment of the skipper was only the tip of the iceberg. The coaching staff, who are forced to sit outside in the stand and next to their English counterparts, were subjected to verbal abuse throughout the game.


It's understood Prince Harry was one of many high-profile and corporate guests to sing a blaring rendition of England's adopted anthem, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot during the haka.

It's not culturally insensitive or offensive for a nation to respond to the haka in song, but Kiwis in the crowd will have sensed the fervour and hostility. The players and coaching staff are building a healthy respect for each other but some English fans are too intent on doing their bit to turn Twickenham into a fortress. The line is fine between intimidating and unpleasant and last weekend too many at Twickenham were on the wrong side of it.

That even includes the RFU executive whose sense of fair play and good sportsmanship was momentarily forgotten in the wake of defeat. At the official after-match function, RFU president Jon Dance is understood to have opened proceedings by saying: "I'm just going to come out and say what everyone is thinking, England deserved to win that game."

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Hell hath no fury like a slightly bitter Twickenham crowd that can't quite come to terms with how England aren't winning.

Coaches to stay on the outer

World Cup authorities have confirmed coaching staff at the World Cup will continue to sit outside at Twickenham for the duration of the tournament.

In the Southern Hemisphere and at several major European grounds, coaching staff are given a separate, self-contained glassed box from where they can operate their laptop analysis and speak freely to each other and through communication systems to staff on the touchline.

But at Twickenham, the rival coaching teams sit next to each other where they can hear and see everything each other is doing and are exposed to any verbal abuse from the crowd around them.

Last weekend Steve Hansen and Stuart Lancaster sat on the outside of their seating allocation, meaning four individuals separated them.