Kiwi wrap (Wed)

Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from New Zealand’s year-end tour.

Henry not a fan of haka stand-offs

All Blacks coach Graham Henry hopes that the stand-off at the end of New Zealand’s haka in Cardiff was a one-off.

The Welsh players responded to the All Blacks’ Kapa o Pango by standing arms linked and staring blankly back at the Kiwis.

New Zealand did not back down and the stand-off only came to an end when skipper Richie McCaw turned his back on the men in red.

“The Welsh thought that was the best way to respond, I just wondered when the game was going to start,” said Henry.

“I’m pleased someone had some common sense, which was the All Black captain. I don’t think we need that every week and I hope there’s not a copycat situation that occurs.

“We’ve been through that – it caused some interest at the time for a lot of people and I hope we move on and get more sensible.”

Henry backs Johnson to get it right

Graham Henry is backing England manager Martin Johnson to bring England success despite his horror start to his international coaching career.

Henry, who coached Johnson while in charge of the British & Irish Lions, sympathised with the former England skipper, having been in a similar situation when many called for the New Zealander to be sacked after the All Blacks’ failure at the World Cup last year.

“It’ll take some time but he’ll [Johnson] be very good. He’s got very high standards, he expects high standards from others and they respect him,” said Henry.

Henry believes the NZRU’s decision to retain his services after the World Cup has been justified by the All Blacks’ defence of their Tri-Nations crown.

“It’s obviously satisfying for us but it’s also good for the people that appointed the three people sitting up here,” said Henry, flanked by assistants Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen.

“They would have been under pressure,” he said of the board which decided to retain the trio ahead of wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

“Robbie Deans is a very good rugby coach as everybody knows. It was a difficult decision for the board. They stuck by us and showed faith in us and it’s good to be able to repay that.

“I think they’ll be feeling comfortable with their decision now.”

More to follow …