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Henry Embarrassed By Crowd Behaviour

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Graham Henry. Pic: NZPA
Graham Henry. Pic: NZPA

By Daniel Gilhooly of NZPA

Christchurch, June 23 NZPA - Coach Graham Henry says poor crowd behaviour at All Blacks tests is embarrassing for his team and has called for an improvement well before the 2011 rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Henry reacted today to a spate of incidents during the just-completed two-test series against France which was marred by instances of crowd disruptions in Dunedin and Wellington.

Spectators pelted the French players with bottles while they completed a victory lap at Carisbrook while spectators running on to the field during play halted both tests. A couple of roosters also broke through security at Wellington on Saturday.

Away from the venue, French player Mathieu Bastareaud was assaulted and injured in a group attack hours after the Wellington test, an incident that is being investigated by police.

Henry agreed it was a terrible look for New Zealand and hoped there was no repeat around the test against Italy here on Saturday and beyond.

"It's embarrassing for the All Blacks for that sort of thing to happen," Henry said today.

"There needs to be a message, the message needs to be given straight away. I don't think we can wait until 2011, personally.

"I think we should be pretty harsh on those who break the law."

The attack on Bastareaud had "annoyed" the All Blacks players because off-field relations between the two teams had been good.

Henry said an unfortunate but inevitable fallout of the crowd incidents was that security would have to be stepped up at future home tests.

"It's a real negative, isn't it?" he said.

"I guess now this is happened, they'll put things in place that will fix those things.

"I'm sure there are security firms that are employed to do that and the education of people will be ongoing right through to the World Cup.

"We had the Lions tour recently (2005) and I don't think there was anything like that so it's disappointing that has crept in and hopefully we can eradicate it."


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