By NZ Herald

Former All Blacks head coach Sir Graham Henry says New Zealand Rugby made a mistake in allowing Dave Rennie to work with the Wallabies.

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Rennie, appointed to the Wallabies head coaching role in late 2019, has made an immediate impact with the Australian side; the team impressed in this year’s Bledisloe Cup opener which saw the two sides play out a thrilling draw.

Henry, speaking at the Wairarapa Bush Rugby Sports Award function as a special guest, said he believes New Zealand Rugby could have done more to keep a coach of his caliber on New Zealand soil.

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“Dave Rennie is a fabulous coach, no doubt. New Zealand Rugby c**ked that up. They should have been connecting with Dave and (Japan coach) Jamie Joseph and other people around the world to keep them involved in New Zealand Rugby.

“(But they) didn’t contact Dave Rennie for three years, and Dave Rennie is fabulous, so he’s going to do a great job with Australia. Whether they’ve got the personnel to be up there for the World Cup, I think they probably will with Dave Rennie.”

Current All Blacks head coach Ian Foster is under immense pressure early on in his tenure with the side, a role Henry implies he may not have been the best man for, despite Henry being on the selection panel for the job.

“I talked in the media about this before and (was) asked who should coach the All Blacks and I was very vocal about Rennie.

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“But Dave Rennie went to Glasgow and went and coached there after winning two Super titles with the Chiefs.

“I think he’s got it all and no disrespect to Fozzie, no disrespect, and New Zealand Rugby – this is some time ago, not recently – were meant to keep in contact with players and coaches who had a big influence with professional rugby in this country and went overseas and they didn’t do that. If they had done that with Dave Rennie he would have applied for the All Black job.”

While acknowledging that it was “too early” to make a definitive call on Foster’s selection, he says Rennie has shown his class in how Australia has immediately responded to his leadership.

“I think we stuffed up quite frankly because he is a quality person and a quality coach and you’ve seen it straight away with the Wallabies. They will play for him, and that’s no disrespect to Fozzie, that’s just circumstantial, so I’ve answered the question.”

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The All Blacks take on Australia in the second match of their Bledisloe Cup series on Sunday at 4pm at Eden Park.

This article first appeared on nzherald.co.nz and as republished with permission.

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