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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 July, 2004, 17:45 GMT 18:45 UK
Henry hails All Blacks
New Zealand celebrate with the Bledisloe Cup
New Zealand celebrate with the Bledisloe Cup
Graham Henry expressed his delight at New Zealand's "superb" 16-7 Tri-Nations victory over Australia in Wellington.

The win, after a try by Doug Howlett and 11 points from Dan Carter's boot, saw the hosts retain the Bledisloe Cup.

"The boys played with huge character and commitment and they got better as the game went on," the coach said.

"We could have capitalised more with the possession we had, but we're happy and I have a lot of pride and respect for the players."

The match was played out in atrocious conditions, persistent rain in the New Zealand capital saturating the surface at the Westpac Stadium.

The All Blacks won 80% of possession but were forced to work hard, going in at the break with just a 3-0 advantage.

But they threw everything at the Wallaby defence in a fierce second half, when Howlett crossed on 62 minutes, to seal the win and maintain Henry's 100% record at the helm after five matches.

"It was a hell of a difficult one out there and a superb performance in very difficult conditions, but we we won the game convincingly in territory and possession," he added.

And Henry reserved special praise for lock Simon Maling and flanker Marty Holah who were drafted in in place of injured duo Keith Robinson and Richie McCaw.

I wasn't happy at all
Eddie Jones,
Australia coach
"Those two stepped up and really played well," he said. "It gives a lot of pleasure to see guys who weren't first choice step up and play top class rugby."

Stirling Mortlock scored Australia's try under the posts after a Joe Rokocoko mistake, but Wallaby coach Eddie Jones refused to look to the conditions as an excuse for his team's poor performance.

"They won 80% of possession so that means they dominated set pieces. Was that a consequence of weather conditions? I'd probably say no," he reasoned.

"I wasn't happy at all. We showed plenty of pride but weren't in the game so there was nothing to be happy about.

"Our defence was good, but it had to be. You can't score points if you are on defence all the time.

"New Zealand played very well. They dominated position and territory. We only got 20% of the possession so in a way 16-7 wasn't a bad score."

Tri-Nations: Stars to watch
14 Jul 04  |  Internationals
Six great trans-Tasman tussles
12 Jul 04  |  Internationals

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