New Zealand All Blacks Rugby News

All Blacks coach thought he was out of job




All Blacks coach Graham Henry said he thought his international career was over after his team’s shock elimination from the Rugby World Cup last year, a newspaper reported Saturday.

In his first interview since being reappointed in December, Henry told the New Zealand Herald he only stood for re-selection because of the public support he had received — though he didn’t expect to win.

” … I was never that confident because this is the first time an All Black coach has been re-appointed for longer than four years,” he told the Herald.

The New Zealand Rugby Union has traditionally dumped failed World Cup coaches and Henry had said his reputation stood on the All Blacks performance in France, where they were beaten 18-20 by the hosts in the quarter-finals.

Henry said he was the last candidate to be interviewed for the job and “after it I thought ‘no, it’s not going to happen’.” Other candidates included the successful Canterbury Crusaders coach Robbie Deans, who in opinion polls was the public’s favourite and who has since been snapped up by arch-rival Australia.

Henry said he woke the morning after the interview “a bit uptight.

It was just a gut feel I had. I didn’t think I was going to get the job.” But the 62-year-old was reappointed for another two seasons along with his panel of Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith.

Henry said the public support he had received was “outstanding” but criticised the New Zealand media, who had clamoured for change.

“I thought most of the media lacked balance and were quite vindictive,” he said.

“It got quite personal and, as I say, I did not read it, I did not watch it, I did not listen to it — but I was told and I was disappointed about that,” he said. “I thought they were over the top, and it was just great the New Zealand public made up their own mind.” Henry said Richie McCaw will remain as his All Blacks captain.

“He is a marvellous player who leads by example and has probably the most successful record of any All Black captain of all time if you look at games won and games lost,” he said.

“There is no reason to change. People look at the Test match in Cardiff, the quarter-final, and say why did we lose that Test match? They say the leadership wasn’t right, and I would debate that strongly.”


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