Friday, April 18, 2008

Henry backs McCaw's World Cup leadership

By TOBY ROBSON, The Dominion Post
Thursday, 17 April 2008

Graham Henry has leapt to the defence of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw in the wake of the long-awaited Rugby World Cup review.

Henry rejected suggestions in the report that there had not been enough on-field leadership during the closing stages of last October's 20-18 quarterfinal loss to France in Cardiff.

The All Blacks did not take a drop goal attempt when they were parked in the French 22m area in the closing stages despite the call coming from the coach's box.

"Carl Hayman got the message about the drop goal and he passed it on," Henry said. "Richie thought about the decision and made a decision on the park at the time to do what has worked in the past. He made a decision. He did not, not make a decision."

Henry said McCaw had decided that Luke McAlister, who had been thrust into the No 10 after injuries to Dan Carter and Nick Evans, did not have the experience to nail the defining goal.
Henry was happy with the decision to push on for a try.

"He [McCaw] had been involved in a number of games for the All Blacks where that process had been followed and we had won."

However, Henry said the coaching staff should have prepared more thoroughly for the drop goal option.
"As a team we should have gone through that scenario. Individually they practiced that as part of their routine, but as a team we did not practice it that much as part of our preparation for a test match."

Henry continued to defend the conditioning programme despite it being heavily criticised in the report, but said he regretted it's impact on the game.

"This report says the time frame was wrong. Conditioning is imperative, it's how we fit it in."
He had underestimated the impact on the public of taking players out of the Super 14.

"The impact on the game has been hugely negative and I didn't think it would be as great. Obviously it was a mistake in the way it was implemented."

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Personal remark : I'm pretty fed up with the 2007 RWC! As we have already said (and will probably say it all over again!), it's not the staff's fault, the players' fault, the captain's fault, ... it was just not their day, not their match, not their year!
Guys, for the sake of rugby (fans, players and mostly the game itself!), I know it's gonna be hard but we gotta move on, we have to forget and think about today's rugby and its new challenges!
PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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