New Zealand All Blacks Rugby News

Henry urges troops to focus




New Zealand coach Graham Henry has told his players they must focus on the upcoming tests with France and Canada rather than looking forward to the World Cup.

Henry caused a stir in the Southern Hemisphere when he withdrew 22 All Blacks from the opening seven rounds of Super 14 action in order to prepare them physically for the World Cup.

However that plan may now have backfired on Henry, with no New Zealand team in this years Super 14 Final, which will be an all South African affair for the first time in the tournaments history.

“Maybe their heads are somewhere else. Maybe their heads are in the All Black camp and thinking about the big games later on,” Henry told Reuters when asked to explain the Super 14 results.

“That would be a bit of a concern because I think they need to be in the now, rather than the future.”

Henry stressed that his players must now focus on the two-test series with France as well as the one-off game with Canada.

He said he was particularly concerned that players were relying too much on brute strength rather than skill.

“Making sure they play the game properly and without too many mistakes is more important than just having a physical presence,” he said

“There were some signs that wasn’t always the case during the Super 14 so there’s work to be done on individual skills and individual concentration as well.

“Physical presence gives you a background but it doesn’t negate the fact that you have to play with accuracy.”

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