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Graham Henry unconvinced by All Blacks selection process

By Online Editors
Former New Zealand and British and Irish Lions coach Graham Henry

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NZ Herald


Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry has taken a few swipes at New Zealand Rugby as they enter a new era.

Henry was one of five on the panel that selected Ian Foster as the new All Blacks coach, succeeding Steve Hansen.

Foster beat out Crusaders coach Scott Robertson for the job, one that started out with a handful of candidates for the head coaching role.

Speaking with Radio Sport Breakfast Henry was unhappy with the number of applications.

“We should’ve had more to be fair, more applications, and I think New Zealand Rugby’s learned from that,” he said.

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Two of them, former Chiefs coach Dave Rennie and Japan coach Jamie Joseph, secured contracts with other international teams beforehand.

Foster’s appointment has been met with criticism, with many citing a fresh change needed in the role.

Henry agrees but believes Foster can do so.


“They [New Zealand Rugby] need to knock down the castle and build it again.

“Winning is everything, winning won’t occur unless they have the foundations right and new foundations because you can’t continue with what’s happening in the past. It gets mundane.”

Henry says the performance at this year’s Rugby World Cup will act as a much-needed catalyst and hopes Foster can usher in a new age.

“Losing [to England] at the Rugby World Cup will add to the edge and the desire to get better. If you keep on winning you probably get a wee bit complacent and don’t make changes. Losing to England will add desire, add change.

“I think the new team that Fozzie finishes up with has got to develop their own identity, their own purpose, their own culture.”

Henry says there wasn’t a clear favourite between Foster and Robertson.

“Both very talented coaches and I hope Razor hangs in because he’s a very good coach now obviously. He’s a winner and New Zealand Rugby need him going forward.

“Fozzie’s been involved in the most successful period of New Zealand rugby ever and he’s been the top assistant to Steve, and Razor’s been the most successful coach at the level below in the last five years.

According to Henry, who coached the All Blacks to World Cup success in 2011, it’s a matter of when – not if – Robertson is given the top job.

“I think he’s got the passion to coach the All Blacks and that’s what he really wants to do and I think it’s in his psyche,” Henry said.

“I think he will be the All Black coach, it’s just a matter of time. He’s 45, isn’t he? He’s just a baby as far as coaches are concerned, very talented, very enthusiastic …he’s just got to be a bit patient.”

This article first appeared on and is republished with permission.

The Wallabies are close to finalising their new coaching team:

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