sport news Wallabies great Tim Horan tells Nic White how to deal with being the most hated ... trends now
As Wallaby halfback Nic White prepares for Saturday night's Bledisloe Cup match at Auckland's Eden Park, he'll need to pack the essentials – boots, mouthguard, jockstrap and, most importantly, ear plugs.
White has become arguably the most unpopular player in world rugby over the past month and the Kiwi supporters will let him know it in no uncertain terms when he takes the field.
It won't be the systematic, orchestrated bullying they gave White's former teammate Quade Cooper during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, but ex-Wallaby Berrick Barnes says it will be in the same ballpark.
Barnes, who played alongside Cooper during that World Cup, says he puts sporting intimidation into three categories.
'There's the Hawaiians threatening to kill Rabbit Bartholomew and the other Aussie surfers in the 1970s; there's what happened to Quade in 2011, and then there's what Nic is going to cop,' he said. 'It won't be as bad as the top two, but the Kiwis will give it to him, that's for sure.'
It's a fair analogy.
White was accused of 'killing a little piece of rugby's soul' when he took an 'Oscar-winning dive' against the Springboks that got an opponent sent off in a Test last month
The moment that infuriated fans around the world: White hams it up after Faf de Klerk grazed his face while trying to slap the ball out of his hands during a scrum
Bartholomew incurred the genuine wrath of the Hawaiians when he said the Australians would teach them how to surf prior to his first trip to the islands in 1977. Many believe it was only the intervention of respected local leader Eddie Aikau that saved his life.
Cooper committed the cardinal sin, in Kiwi eyes, of shoving and mouthing off at All Blacks captain and New Zealand's favourite son Richie McCaw, in two Test matches leading up to the 2011 World Cup.
In comparison, White is guilty only of taking an obvious dive which saw his Springboks opposite number Faf de Klerk dispatched to the sin-bin in Adelaide last month. He followed that by furiously remonstrating with referee Mathieu Raynal after the Frenchman had controversially denied Australia victory in last week's Bledisloe opener in Melbourne.
It's hardly worth the newspaper front page declaring Quade Cooper 'Public Enemy Number 1' that greeted the Wallabies when they touched down in Auckland in 2011, but it has stirred the internet into a frenzy nonetheless.
Ex-Wallaby Berrick Barnes (pictured) has warned the half that Kiwi fans are guaranteed to single him out for some very special treatment at Eden Park
Following the Springboks incident, in which White slumped to the ground theatrically after de Klerk had slapped his cheek while trying to dislodge the ball, Nic White memes took on a life of their own.
There was the picture of a man lying in a hospital bed, with White's face superimposed and the caption, 'Surgery to re-attach Nic White's displaced moustache hairs has been successful. He will be back in training in 4-6 weeks.'
One meme had a photo of a mass candlelit vigil and the words, 'Rugby fans from around the world gather around Adelaide General Hospital to pray that Nic White pulls through.' Others had him dressed in a pink ballet tutu or accepting an Oscar and was portrayed as Chris Rock by Will Smith.
The online reaction to last weekend's confrontation with referee Raynal was far less humorous and more spiteful.
'Let's be honest. Nic White deserves it.'
'Few things give me as much joy as Nic White tears.'
'Makes me so happy to see Nic White get served a nice full plate of F**K YOU.'
'Nic White is a pathetic little cretin.'
The Wallaby's shocker against South Africa