Graham Henry has been reappointed as coach of New Zealand.
The 61-year-old Henry has survived despite his closest challenger Robbie Deans widely tipped to unseat him.Henry has been reappointed for a two-year term.
The four candidates â€“ Henry, Deans, Colin Cooper, Ian Foster â€“ presented their cases to the board yesterday in a 90 minute interview.
Ultimately the eight voting members decided to retain Henry on as coach, staying true to their promise that the All Blacks’ World Cup quarter-final exit would not be taken into consideration in their final decision.
A large proportion of the New Zealand rugby public are said to be disappointed with the decision, particularly because Henry continually asked to be judged on his World Cup performance
Henry’s impressive record over his four year tenure, winning 42 of his 48 tests, is in all probability, is what ensured that he was reinstated.
NZRU Acting Chairman Mike Eagle said he was very impressed with the interviews with all four candidates, and praised the depth of coaching talent in New Zealand rugby.
“At the end of the process, the board concluded that Graham Henry was the best candidate for the position,” he said. “We are all disappointed not to have won the Rugby World Cup. In that regard, the NZRU board accepts it was jointly responsible and accountable for the result and the planning that went into the campaign.
“We are committed to learning the key lessons, which will be explored in the independent review announced earlier this week led by Mike Heron and high performance expert Don Tricker.â€ added Eagle who said the appointment decision was based on Grahamâ€™s remarkable results over a four-year tenure.
“Grahamâ€™s record, both on and off the field, is among the best in All Blacks rugby history. He has set a very high standard in coaching, player management, and integration with the wider New Zealand rugby community. He has given a lot in a successful period for our game and the Board is convinced he has more to give the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby.
“As a result, we believe that in the best interests of New Zealand rugby, Graham and his team were the right choice.”
Henry expressed joy and relief in receipt of the news.
“Iâ€™m very grateful for the chance to continue,” he said. “We have been a strong and successful team over the last few years but we were hugely disappointed we didnâ€™t bring the World Cup back for New Zealanders.
“We have learnt lessons from this campaign and we now look forward to being able to build on those learnings and the experience we have.”