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Page last updated at 06:26 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 07:26 UK

All Blacks keep faith with Henry

Graham Henry
Henry took charge in 2004

Graham Henry will lead New Zealand through to the 2011 World Cup after being re-appointed as All Blacks coach.

Assistants Wayne Smith and Steven Hansen have also been handed new deals by the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Henry, 63, has been in charge of the All Blacks since 2004, winning 57 of 66 Tests but losing in the quarter-finals of the 2007 World Cup.

"It is a real privilege to be asked to do this job and coach this team," said the former Wales coach.

"I've been doing it for a little while now and I've never thought of anything else, but it being a huge privilege to be able to do this job."

During his spell in charge, Henry has also won the Bledisloe Cup five times, the Tri-Nations title on four occasions and overseen a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of the British and Irish Lions in 2005.

We think all three individually are very strong but as a coaching unit they are even stronger

NZRU chairman Jock Hobbs

However, New Zealand's 18-20 defeat by France in the 2007 World Cup led to calls for Henry to go, with Robbie Deans, the most successful coach in Super 14 history, the populist vote to take over.

The NZRU opted to keep faith with Henry on that occasion.

And despite recent unimpressive performances in a 1-1 series draw with France and the 27-6 win over Italy, the NZRU have stuck by Henry and his assistants again.

"We think all three individually are very strong but as a coaching unit they are even stronger," said NZRU chairman Jack Hobbs.

"Holding all three was important. They have a formidable record and we hold them in very high regard.

"They are totally committed to New Zealand rugby and have become an important part of the wider organisation.

"It's a reflection that as a group we believe they are greater than the parts. We didn't want to run the risk of losing one of them through the course of the year which is always a possibility."


All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is confident Henry will not tolerate complacency in the run-up to the 2011 World Cup, which is being held in New Zealand.

"We know we've got two-and-a-half years to keep on building on what we're doing," said the 28-year-old forward.

"The challenge the coaches and senior players face is to make sure we keep looking for that edge and don't just think we've got it sorted.

"A lot of us have been in this team for a long time now and you can't afford to get (complacent). If you start standing still everyone is going to move past you.

"The couple of experiences we had last year in the Tri-Nations (losses to Australia and South Africa) and the recent French Test just reminds you if you're not quite on the money you're going to come second."

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see also
Henry named as All Blacks coach
06 Dec 07 |  Rugby Union
Henry applies for All Blacks job
26 Nov 07 |  Rugby Union
Henry must re-apply for NZ post
15 Nov 07 |  Rugby Union
Kiwis are best in world - Laporte
15 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
World Cup loss 'scars' All Blacks
10 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
N Zealand stunned by All Blacks' exit
08 Oct 07 |  Asia-Pacific
All Blacks loss ends Henry reign
07 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Henry proud of beaten New Zealand
06 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union

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