Bands recalls the day McCaw was monstered at Loftus

    2020-05-13 12:29

    A hand-written note on the cart used to transport injured players off Loftus Versfeld has survived 15 years from the day it was first posted to record a sickening blow suffered by Richie McCaw.

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    All Blacks legend McCaw was knocked senseless trying to tackle Bulls and Springboks prop Richard Bands as the Crusaders lost 35-20 in 2005.

    The South African still dines out on the tale as he does on his famous try two years earlier when he bamboozled Carlos Spencer on his way to scoring a remarkable try for the Springboks against the All Blacks at Carisbrook in Dunedin.

    Not many people got the better of either All Black and Bands happily recounted both incidents in an interview when looking back at his career.

    “I saw Richie mentioned me in his book, where he said I was half-man, half brahman (a type of bull),” Bands said.

    “The Bulls were on fire and it was a hot day in Pretoria, 34 degrees at Loftus with no wind, and the Crusaders came from snow and winter to Pretoria.

    “Fourie (du Preez) played me and McCaw was in front of me, and I just smashed him. As I smashed him you could see his arms going straight and he was out.

    "He was lying there for quite a while, and I didn’t know but they were struggling to get his tongue out his throat, he had swallowed his tongue.

    “It was a bad incident and I apologised to him afterwards. It was a freak accident.

    “But a funny story behind it, the guys who work at Loftus put a sign on the golf cart that carries the players off - after the knock - they wrote there ‘Kiwi recovery vehicle’, which was pretty funny. I see it is still on the cart today.”

    Bands is better known for his Dunedin try and still likes to give Spencer a ribbing about it, despite 'King Carlos' scoring 14 points as the All Blacks squeaked home 19-11.

    The try recently made the list of the top 20 rugby tries viewed on YouTube.

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