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Henry And Co Get Second Bite At World Cup Glory

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 9 NZPA - All Blacks coach Graham Henry and his two assistants, Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen, have been given a second chance at World Cup glory after they were re-appointed through until the end of 2011.

The trio were at the helm as New Zealand crashed out of the 2007 World Cup quarterfinals at the hands of the French in 2007.

New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Jock Hobbs said today the current coaching panel was "a very strong and experienced team".

"Graham, Wayne and Steve are outstanding coaches. They have a formidable record and we hold them in very high regard.

"They are totally committed to New Zealand rugby and have become an important part of the wider organisation."

Hobbs said the decision to re-appoint the coaches before the end of the 2009 season was taken by the NZRU board in April.

"We agreed the time was right to consider the next two years, and the re-appointment reflects our confidence in them."

Henry and his assistants, who took charge in 2004, have won 57 out of 66 tests, an 86 percent winning record.

Under them, the All Blacks have also defended the Bledisloe Cup in five successive seasons, won the Tri Nations four times, achieved a clean-sweep of the British and Irish Lions in 2005, and won two Grand Slams in 2005 and 2008.

They have lost only once in Europe in their tenure, the World Cup quarterfinal to France, and just twice in New Zealand, in 2008 to South Africa and last month to France in Dunedin.

Henry said it was an honour and a privilege to coach the All Blacks.

"The other coaches and I are delighted to be re-appointed.

"The coaching staff, management team and players are incredibly proud of their record and we look forward to taking the team," Smith said.

He had committed to New Zealand rugby during last year's All Blacks Grand Slam tour.

"As a group it's going to be important that we work smart and hard and enjoy our rugby, and we look forward to the continued support of All Blacks fans," Hansen said

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