Henry wary of wounded Aussies

2010-10-19 09:32
Graham Henry (AFP)

Wellington - All Blacks coach Graham Henry said on Tuesday he expected the Wallabies to throw everything at New Zealand in Hong Kong this month in a desperate bid to end a record losing run against their arch-rivals.

VIDEO: Henry talks up SBW

New Zealand have won their past 10 encounters with Australia, including three dramatic wins to secure this year's Bledisloe Cup, and Henry said he could sense the Wallabies' hunger for revenge in the fourth tie on October 30.

"There's never any dead rubbers between the All Blacks and the Wallabies, they're always big games," he told reporters.

"We have had a good winning run against the Wallabies but they have a huge desire to knock us off and you can see that in their eyes. It's going to be a hell of a big Test match."

In a match that Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill has described as a likely preview of next year's World Cup final, Henry said New Zealand wanted to make a statement and extend their recent dominance.

"Ten games goes back to 2008, it's a long time," he said. "What you can say at some stage they are going to win, we just hope it is not any time soon."

Australia's young side almost made the breakthrough in Sydney last month, going down 23-22 in a last gasp defeat that left Wallabies' fans complaining of a psychological barrier against the vastly experienced New Zealanders.

"That talk hasn't come from us," Henry said. "It's come from the Wallaby camp I think. We just need to get up there and do the business."

In a major boost for New Zealand, Henry said star flyhalf Dan Carter was likely to start in Hong Kong after two months on the sidelines following ankle surgery.

"We're hopeful, he's making positive progress," the coach said.

He will also have the option of throwing rugby league convert Sonny Bill Williams into the fray after fast-tracking the giant back's entry into the All Blacks after just a few games playing provincial rugby in New Zealand.

"He's a big person, he's obviously very strong, he's got the ability to offload well in a contact situation, so he might add an extra dimension there," he said.

After sweeping all before them this year, New Zealand have inevitably faced questions about whether they are peaking too early for the World Cup, after transforming from favourite to flop in the past three tournaments.

Henry said there would be no repeat of the 2007 order to rest players from the Super 14 tournament that was blamed for key players appearing ill prepared at the last World Cup.

With the Bledisloe Cup already decided, ticket sales for the Hong Kong game have been sluggish, although organisers are hoping for a last-minute rush of interest.

Henry said the All Blacks were intent on putting on a show for those who do turn up.

"I hope that we can play a style that we are pleased about and that people enjoy the spectacle," he said.

Read more on:    graham henry  |  dan carter


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