By DUNCAN JOHNSTONE - Stuff
Graham Henry believes his captain Richie McCaw is the most influential player in world rugby. Here are the thoughts of the All Blacks coach on some key topics.
On Richie McCaw: He is the most influential player in the world right now. He has been outstanding. I can remember Fitzy (Sean Fitzpatrick) who was probably our last great captain ... he grew into he job. He wasn't the bees knees straight away but in the latter part of his career he was a colossus as a leader and everybody around the world had their opinions about Fitzy because he was so successfull. I think the same is happening with Richie. His influence on this group of people this year has been astronomical not only as a player but as a leader
On Sonny Bill Williams: I am sure it has been frustrating for him. He has had some genuine hamstring problems and one bad knee. He just needs to play. He needs game time and he's starting to get that. He has shown he's reasonably effective.
On All Blacks being rested in next year's Super 15: We are meeting with the Super 15 coaches late September and we will try and get on the same page. But I think it would be ridiculous to think a guy could play every game - there are 19 games if a team makes the final. They have two byes and you take two more out - that is four weeks off and that's probably a reasonably logical way of looking at it.
On the Wallabies's physical state next weekend: Playing three test matches in a row is obvisouly going to have some physical effect. But they will be highly motivated to get the ledger right. They will be up for the Sydney test match, I don't have any doubt about that.
On Aaron Cruden filling Dan Carter's boots: This is a great opportunity for him. It's a big test match played away from home in Sydney and it's always been a difficult place for us to play. So the team is going to be under pressure and it's a good challenge for him.
On resisting playing John Afoa and Benson Stanley for Auckland today: We think the All Blacks are more important. We value the All Blacks very highly and by doing that I think we would be decreasing the value of being an All Black. We are training on Sunday afternoon, we have meetings in Sydney when we arrive in setting the objective for the week and we think it's important the 26 players are there for that.