All Black coach Henry knighted

2011-12-31 12:15
Graham Henry (Gallo)

Wellington - All Blacks coach Graham Henry, who guided New Zealand to their Rugby World Cup win in October, was rewarded Saturday with a knighthood in the nation's New Year's honours list.

Henry, now Sir Graham, has been made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for his service to the national sport.

The honour comes after he redeemed himself in the eyes of a rugby-obsessed New Zealand public by taking the All Blacks to the World Cup win, albeit by a narrow 8-7 margin over France in the final.

Four years earlier, Henry had been publicly castigated in New Zealand when, again under his stewardship, the All Blacks crashed out of the 2007 World Cup in the quarter finals.

"I feel very honoured, very humbled in getting this award," Henry said after the knighthood was announced.

"Obviously winning the Rugby World Cup put the icing on the cake. I don't think I'd be standing here today if we hadn't done that."

The 65-year-old Henry, who is affectionately known as "Ted", stepped down as All Blacks coach after the World Cup ending a remarkable era which saw him rated as one of the most successful coaches in any sport.

In eight years at the helm, the All Blacks played 103 Tests and returned a winning average of 85.4 percent.

Henry has since turned down offers to join overseas clubs but said he is keen to develop an advisory coaching role, and not just for rugby.

"If I can pass some knowledge on to other coaches, not only in rugby but other sports, I'd enjoy that."

Richie McCaw, who captained the All Blacks to their World Cup victory, turned down the offer of an immediate knighthood saying it did not seem appropriate while he was still playing.

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