2011 Rugby World Cup–winning coach Graham Henry has announced he is stepping down as All Blacks Coach.
Henry made the announcement at a media conference at his rugby club, Auckland University RFC, today following the All Blacks’ outstanding Rugby World Cup win nine days ago.
However, Henry will not be lost to rugby – the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) is discussing the possibility of retaining him as a coach mentor for the country’s leading coaches.
Henry finishes his All Blacks career as one of the most successful rugby coaches of all time: he coached the All Blacks to 88 wins in 103 Tests for a winning percentage of 85.4 percent. As well as winning Rugby World Cup 2011, the All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup every year since 2003, won the Investec Tri Nations five times and achieved three Grand Slams against the Northern Hemisphere Home Unions.
“Firstly, I would like to thank my mum Ann, my wife Raewyn and our three children Matt, Catherine and Andrew for their constant, unconditional support over the many years I have been coaching rugby,” he said. “It’s been an enormous privilege to coach the All Blacks and I am exceptionally proud of how the team has added to the All Blacks legacy over the last eight years, involving 103 Test matches.
“I am also exceptionally proud of how they have developed an extremely professional and enjoyable culture and environment, and how they have reached out to people of all ages and put a smile on their faces, both here in New Zealand and overseas. So I want to say a special thank you and congratulations to all the players who have played during this time, especially to Tana Umaga and Richie McCaw, the two long-term captains.”
Henry also paid tribute and “a big thank you” to his fellow All Blacks coaches and management team.
“Wayne Smith, Steve Hansen, Mike Cron and Mick Byrne are quality men and all outstanding in their individual coaching roles.
“Also thank you to All Blacks Manager Darren Shand and his management team of Gilbert Enoka (Mental Skills Coach), Nic Gill (Strength & Conditioning Coach), the medical team of Deb Robinson (Doctor), Peter Gallagher (Physiotherapist), George Duncan (Muscle Therapist) and Katrina Darry (Nutritionist); Joe Locke and Jo Malcolm (Media Managers), Alistair Rogers (Performance Analyst), Errol Collins (Baggage Man) and Bianca Thiel (Executive Assistant), who I believe are the best in the world.
“Finally I would like to thank everyone in ‘the big team’ at the NZRU head office in Wellington for their help and expertise. A special thank you to Chairman Mike Eagle and CEO Steve Tew, former Chairman Jock Hobbs and CEO Chris Moller, and the NZRU Board, especially those gentlemen who reappointed the coaches after the 2007 Rugby World Cup.”
Henry and All Blacks Assistant Coach Steve Hansen have one more coaching role this year – the duo will coach the Barbarians against Australia at Twickenham, London, on Saturday 26 November.
Graham Henry: a career of rugby highlights
2004 – 2011
- 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 Investec 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 Steinlager Rugby Award 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 side.
- He returned to New Zealand in 2003 and was appointed All Blacks Coach with Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen as his assistants.