Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Attention turns to All Blacks coaching post

It is still officially unknown what will occur with the All Blacks coaching position, with World Cup winning coach Graham Henry coy on his future.

Henry, along with his assistants Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith, created history when they were “given another crack” as Henry described it, reappointed to take the All Blacks to the just completed World Cup triumph despite their 2007 exit at the hands of France.

After the World Cup Final, which the All Blacks won 8-7 against the same opponent, Henry passionately spoke about second chances, learning from mistakes and keeping the same core of a group intact.

"That's the beauty of continuity,” Henry said.

“That people continue to be involved rather than wholesale cleanouts and start all over again, how do you learn from that?"

“Those situations are difficult but they are things you can learn from."

The long serving All Blacks coach admitted that he didn’t think he would be given a contract extension after 2007, believing Robbie Deans had the inside running, but Henry was re-appointed and has now repaid the faith of those who gave him their vote.

What happens now was going to largely depend on the result of the World Cup, and with the All Blacks winning the crown, the path of succession is quite clear.

Hansen has made his feelings known that he wants to coach the All Blacks, and as a successful assistant with the Webb Ellis Cup in hand, one would feel he has a pretty good chance.

Assuming the 65-year-old Henry steps down.

Clearly the coaching gig is like breathing to him, with Henry and Hansen accepting invitations from the Barbarians to coach the team against the Wallabies later this year.

While this occurs, the New Zealand Rugby Union will begin their process.

Chief executive Steve Tew confirmed that a tournament review will take place, and that a decision on the All Blacks coaching post will be decided hopefully “before Christmas”.

The only certainty is that Smith will head to the Chiefs.

This creates further intrigue for if Hansen is successful is gaining the top job, he will want some capable assistants – and within New Zealand Ian Foster, Colin Cooper and Todd Blackadder are names bandied around ‘what if’ circles.

One thing is for sure, the new All Blacks coach will inherit a World Champion team, and will have a core of experienced and class players to operate with.

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