RICHARD KNOWLER, The Press
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
As Richie McCaw defended his All Blacks captaincy, Robbie Deans and Graham Henry looked on from a distance.
Crusaders coach Deans and All Blacks boss Henry spent around 10 minutes chatting after training at Rugby Park yesterday as McCaw fronted with his views of the independent review of the World Cup.
The report, commissioned by the New Zealand Rugby Union, revealed Henry instructed McCaw to set up for a drop goal with 10 minutes remaining of the World Cup quarter-final against France but he chose to continue with the tactic of attempting to score a try or get a penalty.
It also stated that in the dying minutes the "leadership model" failed to deliver and the team failed to ensure the right decisions were taken.
When the report was publicly released last week Henry backed McCaw's decision not to attempt the drop goal.
"You always think about those things. The next time you are in that situation you might do something different," McCaw said of the drop goal. "But that is the decision you make on the day and you just have to live with them."
Henry, who watched yesterday's training with the NZRU's high performance manager, Mike Chu, also defended his decision not to inform McCaw that referee Wayne Barnes had not awarded a penalty in the second half.
At full time the penalty count favoured France 10-2.
Henry has already stated McCaw will remain as his skipper and the openside flanker said he was eager to continue.
Despite criticism since the report, McCaw maintained playing at No. 7 and also having to call the shots should not affect the way he led the team.
"I guess I am like anyone, no matter what position – you have got to learn as you go. I have never said that I have stopped learning. You are learning every time you go out onto the field. I don't see it as being a problem but I guess everyone has got their opinion."
McCaw had not read the report that was compiled by Auckland lawyer Mike Heron and former Black Sox coach Don Tricker and cost the New Zealand Rugby Union $130,000.
Instead he maintained he had been preparing for the Crusaders' match against the Chiefs in Hamilton last Friday night.
"No mate, there's been enough talking about that. But from my point of view it was obviously the day before the game (when it was released) and I just got on with that," McCaw said."I have been away for the weekend and I have not read anything about it. And that is probably the way it should stay, I think."