FORMER Wallaby and Rugby World Cup winner Matt Burke has admitted Quade Cooper should never have made it to halftime, following the Wallabies' 20-6 loss to the All Blacks.
Burke lavished praise on the All Blacks, saying Graham Henry's men 'smoked' the Australians. But they were helped by an error-strewn Cooper, he told Radio Sport.
"He dropped high balls, he missed tackles, he got smashed. He had wrong options, he kicked out on the full. It was just error after error, which made the game easier for the All Blacks.
"I feel sorry for him. I thought he should have been pulled after about 25 minutes. Mind you, he went through to the very end and he showed a lot of courage and conviction to play. It's all well and good to have that, but you need to be able to execute at the same time."
Former Wallabies coach Alan Jones, who tasted victory at Eden Park in 1986, told Radio Sport Cooper doesn't deserve the treatment he has received over the past six weeks, but admitted the first five-eighth "has been a bit silly".
"The one rule you have here is you play football and let everyone else talk. You've got to make sure, when you're going on that international stage, that you make yourself as small a target as possible, but he'll learn.
"He's a very decent young fellow. I think one of the factors in all of this is that he's been rattled by his own inability to get on top of his game. Last night, he kicked off in the first minute of the match and it went out of the full. It's a pretty demoralising way to start."
Burke wasn't just blown away by the home fans and the "sheer black noise", but the manner in which the All Blacks clinically disposed of the Robbie Deans' side and maintained the Wallabies' Eden Park hoodoo.
"What happened last night, we just saw the power of the All Blacks; the power of the scrum, the power of the backline. Cruden controlled the game incredibly well.
"The speed of the game was what got me. The ability of passing the ball around and Israel Dagg was just brilliant. He's got the ability to find a hole and at speed as well."