Henry steps cautiously

All Blacks coach Graham Henry says his team is not the force people are making it out to be.

He told the New Zealand media there was very little to choose between the top five teams and that New Zealand was marginally, as opposed to miles, ahead of the chasing pack.

“We have won some championships and we have won the majority of our matches, but we are only a step ahead of the others,” said Henry.

The All Blacks coach added that most of the results in the Tri Nations were close and he pointed to the one point defeat against the Springboks in Rustenburg as an indicator of how much his team had to improve if they were to win the World Cup.

What Henry did not mention were two 18 and 19 point wins against the Boks this year and a 20 point win against the Wallabies. He focused on the two four point wins against the Wallabies and the one point defeat against the Boks.

Henry has singled out the two tests against France as the big ones on the All Blacks tour, but he predicted England and Wales to be as tough as always.

The All Blacks on Friday played a Heartland XV in a practise match, where the aim was to give several rested All Blacks contact.

Henry also used the match to play Jason Eaton as a blindside flanker and Rueben Thorne as a No 8. He hinted the two would be tried in those positions on tour.