Bledisloe Cup 2020: Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper gets personal with All Blacks star Caleb Clarke

In the heat of Bledisloe battle, All Blacks rookie Caleb Clarke and rival skipper Michael Hooper shared a tender moment that may live on in trans-Tasman infamy.

Making his first start in the black jersey on Auckland's 'Coopers Catch Park', the son of former NZ international Eroni Clarke turned in a dream performance, tormenting the Australian defence, as his team ran out convincing 27-7 winners.

But during one of his tackle-busting runs, Clarke has revealed Hooper came close to stealing his 'crown jewels'.

"You know what, Michael Hooper grabbed my nuts just then," he told Sky Sport interviewers afterwards. "They were really sore.

"I turned and tried to push his hand off."

Later, Clarke admits trying to find Hooper for some payback.

"On this run, I tried to get him back," he says, watching a replay. "Pete, our physio, said to get him back, so I tried to do it there."

During Super Rugby Aotearoa, Clarke, 21, established himself as one of the competition's form wingers, earning a call-up to the national squad.

Caleb Clarke enjoys an All Blacks victory with dad Eroni and mum Siala
Caleb Clarke enjoys an All Blacks victory with dad Eroni and mum Siala. Photo credit: Photosport

He made a strong debut off the bench during last week's drawn Bledisloe opener in Wellington and came into the starting line-up this week, after George Bridge suffered a season-ending chest injury.

Clarke's performance should be enough to make him an automatic selection for the Rugby Championship fixtures against Australia and Argentina across the ditch next month.