Henry work­ing ‘flat out’ since World Cup tri­umph

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By BEN STRANG

Sir Gra­ham Henry has been busy since lift­ing the Rugby World Cup as All Blacks coach last year, fi­nally bring­ing the Webb El­lis Cup back to New Zealand.

Sir Gra­ham has worked with Kiwi rugby coaches, given ad­vice to Olympic coaches, taken a role with the Ar­gen­tinian rugby team and re­leased his book Fi­nal Word.

‘‘I’ve been flat out but I’ve en­joyed it,’’ said the 66-year-old. ‘‘I’ve been work­ing with the New Zealand Rugby Union, work­ing with coaches and have a sim­i­lar con­tract with High Per­for­mance Sport New Zealand, which is Olympic sport.’’

He talked to sail­ing, kayak­ing and hockey coaches be­fore the Lon­don Games about how to set a high per­for­mance en­vi­ron­ment in their camps.

Sir Gra­ham was in Porirua to pro­mote his book writ­ten by Bob Howitt.

‘‘The feed­back has been bril­liant from any­one who has read it and I am very proud of the book. It’s the best sell­ing non­fic­tion book in New Zealand but is be­ing beaten by some book called Fifty Shades of Gray. I wanted there to be more sex in the book but Bob Howitt wouldn’t have it, so there you go.’’

Sir Gra­ham’s coach­ing ca­reer be­gan in the 1970s when he helped coach an un­der-20 side at his club in Christchurch.

‘‘They were the best young play­ers in the club, so me and a mate of mine took over coach­ing the team, which I re­ally en­joyed.’’

Shortly af­ter he moved to Auck­land, work­ing at Auck­land Gram­mar School as a teacher, and helped coach the first XV.

‘‘That was when I re­ally started to take this coach­ing stuff se­ri­ously,’’ he said.

‘‘ When I was coach­ing at Auck­land Gram­mar I had a lit­tle note pad in my desk and I’d writ­ten down a list of goals, and coach­ing the All Blacks was one of them.

‘‘I’ve ticked off ev­ery goal on that list. I won’t tell you all of them but I am very proud of what I’ve done.’’

He had spells as head coach of Auck­land Gram­mar, then Kel­ston Boys’ High School un­til 1991. In 1992 he took over as Auck­land coach in the NPC. In 1998 he left New Zealand to coach the Welsh na­tional team.

By 2004 he had re­turned to New Zealand and was named coach of the All Blacks.

De­spite a stel­lar run, the team flopped at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, los­ing to France in the quar­ter­fi­nal.

Sir Gra­ham was reap­pointed and guided the team to glory in 2011.

He has been in hot de­mand since, most re­cently work­ing with the Ar­gen­tinian na­tional side in prepa­ra­tion for the in­au­gu­ral Rugby Cham­pi­onship.

He be­lieves Ar­gentina will be able to hold their own against the SAN­ZAR nations in time.

‘‘It will take time. They are the eighth-ranked team in the world, play­ing the num­ber one, two and three. I don’t know if they can make it to a top three team but in about 10 years I think they’ll be do­ing very well.’’

Photo: AN­DREA O’NEIL

Cham­pion: Sir Gra­ham Henry rubs shoul­ders with fan Emma Hol­land dur­ing a book-sign­ing ap­pear­ance at Pa­per Plus in Porirua last Wed­nes­day.

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