Henry de­scribes ABs dom­i­na­tion as bor­ing

The Southland Times - - SPORT - RUGBY

For­mer All Blacks coach Gra­ham Henry be­lieves the side’s con­tin­ued dom­i­na­tion would be ‘‘bor­ing’’ for the game.

Speak­ing to me­dia in Dubai on Thurs­day where he was a guest at the Emi­rates Air­line Rugby Long Lunch, Henry wel­comed signs of im­prove­ment from Aus­tralia and South Africa over the clos­ing stages of the Rugby Cham­pi­onship, say­ing it’s ex­actly what the game needed.

‘‘I haven’t coached in six years,’’ he said. ‘‘And the game’s changed im­mensely in that six years. What the All Blacks have done is been ini­tia­tors in that change, they’re in­ven­tive.’’

‘‘They didn’t score a try from their own ball ini­tially against South Africa,’’ Henry con­tin­ued. ‘‘Two turnovers and an in­ter­cept, whereas South Africa had to build their tries.’’

‘‘Their abil­ity to take ad­van­tage of op­por­tu­ni­ties is prob­a­bly their X fac­tor. And once they see the op­por­tu­nity, they ex­e­cute it,’’ Henry said of the All Blacks.

‘‘That’s prob­a­bly the step other sides haven’t made yet. South Africa may have played the bet­ter game, but got beat by a point. So I don’t think the gap is too big. Which is great, it’s what rugby needs. It doesn’t need one team that’s un­beat­able, be­cause that’s bor­ing.’’

The All Blacks went through the Rugby Cham­pi­onship un­beaten af­ter a drawn test se­ries against the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions.

De­spite the con­tin­ued Rugby Cham­pi­onship dom­i­na­tion, and the fact the All Blacks have had a stran­gle­hold on the world No 1 rank­ing, Henry, who coached the side to win the World Cup in 2011 be­fore his for­mer as­sis­tant Steve Hansen made it back-to-back ti­tles in 2015, be­lieves they will face stiff com­pe­ti­tion to make it three in a row in Ja­pan in 2019.

‘‘The World Cup is two years away and I was pleased to see Aus­tralia and South Africa im­prove a lit­tle in this Rugby Cham­pi­onship se­ries be­cause I think rugby needs com­pe­ti­tion,’’ Henry added.

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