Graham Henry officially announced his retirement as All Blacks coach on Tuesday.
Nine days after winning the World Cup, the 65-year-old has ended his impressive eight-year tenure with the All Blacks.
Since taking over from John Mitchell after the 2003 World Cup, Henry’s All Blacks have claimed the 2011 World Cup title, five out of eight Tri-Nations titles, completed Grand Slam tours in 2005, 2008 and 2010 and thumped the 2005 British and Irish Lions. He also boasts a success rate of 85.4% from 103 Tests.
‘I’m stepping down as All Blacks coach. I’ve had enough. I’ve been involved in 103 Tests with the All Blacks, but a 140 in total,’ Henry told the large media contingent at Auckland University.
“It’s been a privilege, an enormous privilege. I’m very proud of what they’ve done over the last eight years. They’ve certainly added to the legacy of All Blacks rugby. And that’s very important to this team.’
Henry credited his long-term captains Tana Umaga and Richie McCaw and his coaching staff for the team’s success during his tenure. He also backed his assistant coach Steve Hansen as the favourite to take over as the new All Blacks head coach.
‘I think Steven Hansen should do the job. That does give us continuity of what’s happened over the last eight years and what goes on in to the future. That’s really important.’
In terms of future jobs, Henry said he was ‘keen’ on playing a mentor role with New Zealand’s franchise and provincial coaches.
‘I’ve been doing that [mentoring franchise and provincial coaches] for the last eight years anyway. So we spend a lot of time at the Highlanders and Crusaders. I would like to continue that, probably on a more formal basis with a real structure to it.’
But Henry also revealed that he is interested in working abroad. In the UK press, he’s been heavily linked with a coaching post in England’s management team.
‘I’d like to have an affiliation with one organisation. I don’t believe you can do a decent job if you spread too wide. If I can find the right club or right union, and they have got the desire for me to be involved, I’d like to do that.’
Meanwhile, Henry, with Hansen’s assistance, will manage the Barbarians side that will face the Wallabies on 26 November.
Graham Henry – The Facts and Figures as listed by Rugbyheaven’s Duncan Johnstone
*Graham Henry finishes his All Blacks career as one of the most successful coaches of all time. He coached the All Blacks to 88 wins in 103 tests for a winning percentage of 85.4 percent, including 29 of the last 32 tests and 48 of their 51 tests at home.
*The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup, played for against Australia, every year of Henry’s coaching reign; won the Tri-Nations five times; won three Grand Slams; and hold all the trophies against other major rugby nations: *The Freedom Cup (South Africa), the Dave Gallaher Cup (France) and the Hillary Shield (England).
*He coached a team at the Rugby World Cup for a record 16 times (including Wales in 1999) and his 13 RWC wins are unchallenged.
*He has won the International Rugby Board’s Coach of the Year award a record five times (2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011); been the New Zealand Coach of the Year four times (1995, 2005, 2006 and 2008); and in 2008 also received the Pierre de Coubertin Trophy awarded by the International Committee for Fair Play (ICPF).
*Born on 8 June in 1946 in Christchurch, Henry attended Christchurch Boys’ High School and the University of Otago before embarking on a long career as a teacher – and rugby coach. He taught and coached the First XV at two Auckland schools, Auckland Grammar and Kelston Boys’ High School, becoming headmaster at Kelston in 1987 until his professional rugby coaching career began in 1996.
*He coached the Auckland provincial side to championship titles four years in a row from 1993 to 1996 and the Blues Super Rugby side to glory in 1996 and 1997. He coached Wales from 1998 to 2002, and in 2001 became the first southern hemisphere coach to coach the British and Irish Lions.
*He returned to New Zealand in 2003 and was appointed All Blacks coach with Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen as his assistants.