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Last Updated: Friday, 19 December, 2003, 17:28 GMT
Henry the man to lay 'ghost' of Mitchell

Zinzan Brooke
Former All Blacks number eight

So the guillotine has come down on All Blacks coach John Mitchell.

The New Zealand public demand results and if they don't get them, the coach will always be looking down the barrel.

On the basis of what he did coaching-wise I think 'Mitch' did a good job, and I was one of those who backed him to continue.

Graham Henry
Henry knows the pressures of the job from his Wales experience
But I think it is more the peripheral stuff that has come up and bit him on the backside.

He was a bit of a ghost when it came to sponsors and contact with the media.

John Hart was too over the top but you didn't really know Mitchell was the coach of the All Blacks with his anonymous comments.

From a full package point of view - working with players, his knowledge of game, dealing with sponsors and the media - Graham Henry fits the bill.

It is ironic the New Zealand Rugby Union had to change its own rules about coaches who leave the country being selected for jobs back home.

They have had to eat some humble pie and they should open that out to players as well.

There were some players in England like Andrew Blowers - who is still playing outstandingly well - who maybe should have been at World Cup.

We lacked firepower up front at the World Cup
As a coach Graham has been around a long time and has all the credentials for the job.

He analyses the game very well and puts a lot of thought into coming up with the right game plan.

At Auckland he would come in and tell us exactly what needed to be done to beat a certain team.

He would say 'if we can implement A, B and C in training, we won't have a problem' and that instills you with confidence.

Things like defence and knowing what the opposition are going to do help win games at the top level and Graham's methods have worked a treat with Auckland in the NPC and the Blues in the Super 12 since he left Wales.

I think there will be a change of emphasis in terms of style.

New Zealand flanker Richie McCaw in action at the World Cup
Brooke believes Richie McCaw could take over as captain
At the World Cup our forwards lacked experience, size and bulk - what you expect of an All Blacks side, and what you need to win the World Cup.

When you are being put to the sword you need that experience to come through, as England showed.

They were called 'Dad's Army' but the amount of rugby those guys had played together and their camaraderie counted for a lot.

We had the skills and ability in the backs but we lacked firepower up front and I think Graham will address that.

He will also need to decide on a captain and I don't think Reuben Thorne will remain in the job.

Long term, if they are building for the future, I would go for Richie McCaw.

He is still quite young but he is a fantastic player and one of first guys on the team-sheet.

He would command respect as a player from his team-mates and he is comfortable with the media.




SEE ALSO
Henry gets Brooke backing
19 Dec 03  |  Internationals
Henry gets All Blacks job
18 Dec 03  |  Internationals
Brooke defends Mitchell
18 Nov 03  |  New Zealand


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