Henry: All Blacks inspired

2011-08-15 10:04

Wellington - The huge weight of expectation in New Zealand that the All Blacks will win the Rugby World Cup on home soil in October is an inspiration to the team rather than a burden, according to coach Graham Henry.

The All Blacks are once again heading into a World Cup campaign as overwhelming favourites and know that the only way to satisfy the demands of the country's more than four million people is to raise the Webb Ellis Cup on October 23.

"It's inspirational," Henry said. "I don't think the All Blacks would be the world's winningest team in any sport, which is correct by a considerable margin, if we didn't have that expectation.

"So although it adds pressure, it's great pressure. I don't think we as New Zealanders actually appreciate what this team has done. I'm not talking about in my time, I'm talking about over 110 years. It's phenomenal."

The All Blacks have won more than two thirds of their tests over the years, and 22 of their last 23, but since their sole triumph in the inaugural World Cup in 1987 have developed a reputation as chokers in rugby's showpiece tournament.

"Winning a rugby World Cup is not part of our legacy and that hurts," Henry said in the interview on

"So it's part of your motivation. But every time the All Blacks put on that black jersey it's bloody important. It's not about revenge; it's about doing the business. But those things that happened in the past fuel you."

Henry oversaw the last of those failures in Cardiff in 2007, when the All Blacks were knocked out of the tournament in the quarter-finals by hosts France.

"It always stays with you, and rightly so," Henry said. "It was massive. The first thing you feel is how to handle this as best you can for the people involved.

"I think we handled it bloody well. We didn't make any excuses, we took it on the chin and got on with life. That was very important for the young guys involved.

"Obviously it hurt, and still hurts. It was a difficult situation but I'm proud of the way we handled it as a group."

New Zealand continue their preparations for the World Cup, which starts on September 9, with a Tri-Nations Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.


  • Maori - 2011-08-15 10:10

    We remain cautiously optimistic about the AB's chances in the world cup. Nothing is taken for granted and AB's need to bring momentum and form into the world cup. Go All Blacks!!

      BCC - 2011-08-15 10:20

      Totally agree M, the ABs look focused. What is refreshing is that the #1 team in the world is very humble. This may be because they were expected to win in 2007 but failed, either way they are a breath of fresh air, SA take note.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-08-15 11:21

      @Maori - not being funny, but haven't the AB's taken 'momentum and form' into every World Cup for the last 2 decades? Serious question. All the 'experts' go on and on about momentum and form, yet all I can recall is momentum and form meaning 'absolutely nothing' in determining the winners of previous World Cups? Then again,if it makes folk feel better - believe the 'experts' mutterings.

      Maori - 2011-08-15 11:41

      @Saffa-Cat, you are entitled to believe what you want to believe. Let's wait and see.......

      chappy - 2011-08-15 12:21

      Ja we felt the same way about the Proteas in the 2003 cricket world cup.... AAARRGGGGGGGHHHHHH

      jk - 2011-08-15 12:36

      france to win w/cup by 8 points. nz wont make the final...

      Barry - 2011-08-15 12:46

      I will be interesting if the ABs choke in the world cup like in 2007.

  • Chief Kok - 2011-08-15 10:27

    I heard that the more than 2000 crowd at the PE airport and practice session got it right to get a smile out of GH. Lol. GH looks focussed. This man knows what he wants. and that's a 110% change of winning the WC; not just a 90% chance like a certain other coach.

      Joe_Public - 2011-08-15 11:30

      Don't you just love it when the All Blacks peak before world cups? That's typically one of my highlights. To see them at their best. And then see them get smashed a few weeks later and walk off in disbelief with tears in their eyes. Moments like that bring a tear to my eye.

      Loodpil - 2011-08-15 11:48

      Yes, I still remember Richie crying on Graham's shoulder at the press conference after there shock (but expected) early exit in 2007. You are right Joe, that moment brought a tear to my eye too. I wonder who's going to be the other team on the field when the AB's beat themselves this time ?

      Carel de Braal - 2011-08-15 13:13

      2000 people! That is more than New Zealand get to their live games.

  • jochem - 2011-08-15 10:29

    Correction - the All Blacks were not knocked out by France, but by Wayne Barnes. His awarding of France's try after a blatant forward pass, IN SPITE OF being told by the touch judge that it was forward, was one of the most shocking incidents in WC history. So don't feel bad, NZ, you didn't choke as everyone tries to make out. If you did, Graham Henry wouldn't be there still. At least your rugby bosses accepted the loss for what it really was. And no, I'm not a NZ supporter.

      Bulldozer - 2011-08-15 10:41

      Wayne Barnes had nothing to do with the fact that G.Henry didn't have a clue who his best 15 were when the world cup started. His policy to have effectively 2 teams alternating every week backfired miserably. Instead of picking one team and sticking to it 80%, he picked 2 teams and stuck with them 100%. At the end he had no idea who should play and who shouldn't. If his best 15 played against France, Wayne Barnes would have had no negative effect on the outcome.

      Raka13 - 2011-08-15 10:50

      @Bulldozer - you have it 100% correct. The All Blacks - if that mighty - would've been 15-20 point up against France if the best players were selected, then a forward pass wouldn't have effected the out come of the game.

      Bulldozer - 2011-08-15 10:53

      Thanks Raka, but I'm always 100% correct.

      Raka13 - 2011-08-15 11:13

      Bulldozer, silly of me to forget..... When is Lloyd coming back? Or is him and Ace still on holiday in Margate?

      Bulldozer - 2011-08-15 11:36

      They are not coming back. Never ever.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-08-15 11:58

      @Lloyd - gone but not forgotten......

      Bulldozer - 2011-08-15 12:14 all legends are, SAFFA.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-08-15 12:23

      Say Hi to Kurt Cobain for me @Ace.............

      Ace Ventura - 2011-08-15 12:42

      Kurt, SAFFA says hi.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-08-15 12:51

      ROTFLMAO - messages from the spirit world right here on Sport 24.

      Jack Turner - 2011-08-15 13:18

      Well well well...never ever thought Id'e witness two "Schmucks" like "Bulldozer & Raka13 commenting on such would swear they are experts on New Zealand rugby.let alone the history on the 2007 R/W/C...History is history guys...There's only one given..... The Boks dont stand a hope in hell of making the final.....Through what ever method...try and make contact with me...Id'e love to take your money on that one........

      Bulldozer - 2011-08-15 13:40

      Simple Jack, your parents have the same mitochondrial DNA. That explains your lack of personality. Figure it out.

  • coolio_101 - 2011-08-15 10:30

    ALL BLACKS ALL THE WAY!!!!! Ain't no stopping us now!!!

      BlueRaven - 2011-08-15 10:49

      You sure about that?

      coolio_101 - 2011-08-15 13:11

      pretty sure mate. the way the boks played saturday they couldnt even beat bafana....

  • Met Uysh! - 2011-08-15 10:39

    Is Henry still in NZ? THought they'd be here already....

  • Raka13 - 2011-08-15 10:41

    When will the Springboks ever win 22 out of 23 tests? Especially when 60% of the new Springboks will be selected on skin colour and not merit. Wonder if the All Blacks and Ausies will complain like they did when we have send our B team to play?

      Tools1 - 2011-08-15 10:59

      I'd love to see Australia play with 60% aboriginis, Aborigini coach too!

      Raka13 - 2011-08-15 11:06

      @Tools - I don't care if the players are blue, red or green, to represent any team in any sport or spelling contest for that matter - you must be the best, you don't get extra points for being a specific colour.....only on a BBBEE and EE scorecard, that is the only 2 places in the entire universe where you get extra points for being a certain colour. Aborigines, Maori, Indian, Chinese, Black, Brown, White whatever - if you are the best, you get selected.

  • Anneleen - 2011-08-15 10:44

    Looking forward to the All Blacks and Springbokke clash on Saturday...!!!

  • bakkebul - 2011-08-15 10:45

    I just wonder, coming knock-out stages, whether the weight of a nation’s expectation is not going to paralyze the AB’s. I do not for one moment question their capabilities – I can however just imagine how wobbly their legs will be feeling when they will be running onto the field from quarter finals onwards.

  • SAFFA-CAT - 2011-08-15 11:13

    Morning all. I must be honest...after watching England, Wales, France, Ireland, Aussie and SA on Saturday, the AB's should officially be tagged as the biggest favourites of all time going into this WC. Put some money on England and SA in particular now chaps - in fact, if we lose on Saturday, only put your money on SA then. I for one think that all this WC preparation is just going far too smoothly for the Kiwis.........get your cash on the outsiders folk (Last time round I made a killing on the Argies and Poms)

      Chief Kok - 2011-08-15 11:26

      Jammer oor jou ou Wee Pee spannetjie. Ek hoor hulle verloor elke week teen hulle self.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-08-15 11:30

      @Kok - it was a great game to watch. The Sharks were deserved winners, and Michalak gave a masterclass in how to win in those conditions. (In fact - go and watch the game, and see what the WC knockout games will be like in the rain and wind). You have me summed up very wrong old chap, if you think I only support a team, and NOT the game. The result wasn't ideal - but the tight and tough game with Michalaks performance (and young Demetris) was delightful to watch. Why aren't you in PE old chap?

      jk - 2011-08-15 16:04

      saffa- write this down- france to win w/cup my dear

  • Anneck - 2011-08-15 12:43

    The All Blacks have been victims of their own success in the last two world cups. My question is, as was demonstrated in 2003 and 2007, can they deal with such a huge weight on their shoulders? Everyone expects them to win and they fall short. France won a series back in '94 in New Zealand. I won't be surprised if they somehow bumped the All Blacks to second in Pool A.

      jk - 2011-08-15 13:00

      france to win w/cup, by 8 points...

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