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Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2006, 15:22 GMT
Henry apologises for Wales slur
All Blacks coach Graham Henry was annoyed by the article
All Blacks coach Graham Henry was annoyed by the article
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 25 November
Kick-off: 1700 GMT
Live on BBC Two, Radio Wales & Cymru and the BBC Sport website.

Graham Henry has apologised on behalf of New Zealand and promised to "sort out" the journalist who labelled Wales as the "village idiots" of rugby.

The New Zealand Herald columnist Chris Rattue slated Welsh rugby this week.

But All Blacks coach Henry, who coached Wales between 1998 and 2002, was quick to distance them from Rattue's stance.

"I'm very embarrassed by the article. I was very annoyed and angry, I still am, and I'm going to sort the fellow out when I get home," Henry said.

"I hope the Welsh people realise those comments are not representative of us.

"There's 100 years of history between New Zealand and Wales and the two teams are very close in a rugby sense.

"I think we are closer to the Welsh rugby team than any other team we play against.

"The teams get together after the game and have a drink, we respect each other and we respect the Welsh people.

Let's face it. Wales are rubbish. They are the village idiots of rugby union

New Zealand Herald columnist Chris Rattue

"Steve Hansen (All Blacks assistant coach) and I have both spent time here and thoroughly enjoyed those times.

"We felt very privileged to have had the opportunity to coach Wales.

"So for a guy to write that article makes me very annoyed. I apologise to the Welsh people about that article. It was very uncalled for.

"You get one or two idiots in every village and we've obviously got one over there."

It is 53 years since Wales last beat the All Blacks, leading Rattue to write his article asking why anyone in New Zealand should get excited about the fixture.

The article enraged the Welsh media, which has re-run it in full this week and urged Wales head coach Gareth Jenkins to pin the offending article to the changing-room wall on Saturday when the teams meet in Cardiff.

Rattue wrote: "It's pointless going on about the great history of All Black and Welsh rugby because there isn't one.

"If rugby between New Zealand and Wales was a boxing contest, they would have stopped it many rounds ago and revoked the Welsh licence.

"Let's face it. Wales are rubbish. They are the village idiots of rugby union.

"They have fans who live for the game, administrators who've killed it and players who lie down for the cause.

"Wales had a brilliant team of never-to-be-forgotten players 30 years ago.

"Since then, they've totally stuffed it up and they'll stuff it up again this weekend."



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