Henry warns England coach

2012-02-01 14:09
Graham Henry (Gallo)
London - Graham Henry, New Zealand's Rugby World Cup-winning coach, has warned England's interim coach, Stuart Lancaster, that his zero tolerance approach to ill discipline in his squad will end in failure.

Delon Armitage became the latest player to fall foul of Lancaster's crackdown, when the London Irish full-back was expelled from the England Saxons squad on Monday following his arrest for alleged assault in a Torquay nightclub in the early hours of Sunday.

Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care, who had been expected to rival his Leicester counterpart Ben Youngs for a place in the England starting line-up to face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, was also dropped from the senior elite squad last month following his arrest for drink driving on New Year's Day.

Henry, however, believes that Lancaster is misguided in his iron-fisted attempts to eradicate the off-field controversies that blighted England's World Cup campaign.

"If the three [England] coaches try to stamp their authority on the squad, as it seems they have with the axing of Danny Care and Delon Armitage, then they will fail," said Henry, writing for "Kids don't listen if you tell them what to do, you have to bring them with you, include them in the process.

"Our strategy would have been to assemble Team Care. Call it a duty of 'Care' if you like. We would have given him all the support that we could make available. The approach would have been the same with Armitage.

"Unfortunately England's new management seem to have drawn an immediate line. They have adopted a zero tolerance attitude.

"It just doesn't work with today's generation. Look how many chances Sir Alex Ferguson gives his young players and he rarely disciplines them too publicly."

Henry, 65, added: "I understand Lancaster's need for discipline, and he knows the kids, but I just hope he hasn't been too authoritarian, too soon. If there is too much big stick, then today's kids will eventually rebel against you.

"Lancaster says: 'The message will get through.' I am not sure that it will in this day and age. It all looks a bit too like naming and shaming for my liking."


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