Outgoing Springbok coach Jake White applauded the retention of Graham Henry as All Blacks coach.
White, whose Springboks won the World Cup, was not considered for a second term as Bok coach, but Henry, whose All Blacks crashed out in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, has been given a second crack at glory.
White told Keo.co.za it was the right decision.
“There is a lot of emotion and hurt around in New Zealand at the moment, but it is the most logical decision that could have been made. You only have to look at Graham’s record to know what impact he has had. Before the defeat against France they’d won 42 out of 47 tests. That’s pretty remarkable when you consider they are playing the top teams every year, home and away,” said White.
“The next World Cup is in New Zealand and it makes sense to go with a guy who has been through a four year experience. He is fine coach and the reality of a World Cup is you only have to be off your game for 20 minutes and you could be out. The All Blacks were bound to lose one in 20 – and unfortunately for Graham that one came during the World Cup in a play-off situation.”
White laughed at the irony that Henry had a job and he did not have one, given their contrasting fortunes, but said it was good for world rugby that a coach of Henry’s quality was still going to be active in the next four years.
“I think he is good for the game and whoever coaches against the All Blacks in the next four years is going to have to produce something special to beat them.”
White also believed Crusaders coach Robbie Deans, should he be appointed Wallabies coach, would excel in the role.
“You’d think, Henry or Deans, either way New Zealand was picking a winner and a guy who is going to win more than he loses. Deans is a fantastic coach and I think he will improve the Wallabies should he take the job. It’s going to be a fascinating international season in 2008.”
White, who completes his book tour of South Africa on Friday, was also overwhelmed at the response to his book, ‘In Black and White’. It has broken all book-selling records in South Africa with the latest sales exceeding 130 000.
To put that into perspective, anything in excess of 5000 is considered a best seller in this country.