Henry lauds Black brigade

Despite lamenting their finishing New Zealand coach Graham Henry was pleased with their performance against a passionate and physical Ireland.

The 22-3 victory kept their grand slam challenge alive, and while it was hardly clinical, the All Blacks will take heart from the fact that Ireland didn’t come close to matching them – even with the Black machine rolling on in third gear.

“We’re pleased with the result,” said Henry. “The guys played pretty well and dominated most of the time which was pleasing.

“I guess there was a bit of frustration there that we didn’t finish and we infringed a lot. That’s frustrating because it affected the tempo we were playing at. Siti was unlucky under the sticks and Ali may have been the same. So a couple of chances went begging but in the second half territory and possession-wise it was a pretty dominant display really.

“So a good result but some frustration as well. We should get better … we should keep moving up the graph,” said Henry. “We should play better. Whether our opponents Wales [who they face on Saturday] allow us to, we will have to wait and see.”

Deans added that he was particularly pleased with their defensive effort.

“They (Ireland) played as well as they were allowed to play,” said Henry. “Ireland made a couple of half breaks but they were quickly snuffed out.

“Our defence was excellent today – the best of the tour. We got a lot of turnover ball so that’s a very positive part of the game.”

Captain Richie McCaw pointed to the penalty try they were awarded just before half-time as being decisive in the victory.

“But to get the seven points right on half-time was critical. We had some pressure on and if we had gone to the break even it would have made it tougher in the second half,” he said.

“I thought the majority of the second half was pretty good. Once we started to get some front foot ball I thought our physicality at the breakdowns made it a lot easier.”