New Zealand Rugby
Henry stands down as All Blacks boss
ESPNscrum Staff
October 31, 2011

Just over a week after leading the All Blacks to Rugby World Cup glory with a dramatic 8-7 victory over France, Graham Henry has officially walked away from his position as head coach.

The former Wales boss, who took charge of his native New Zealand in 2004, explained that he felt that the time was now right for him to step down.

"I've had enough," Henry 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, who is in talks with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) about remaining on in a "coach mentor" role, was also full of praise for the backroom team which helped him bring the Webb Ellis Cup back to New Zealand for the first time since 1987. "Wayne Smith, Steve Hansen, Mike Cron and Mick Byrne are quality men and all outstanding in their individual coaching roles," he said.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew was quick to pay tribute to Henry, who, as well as lifting the World Cup, also won five Tri-Nations titles and oversaw three Grand Slam tours of the 'home nations' during his time at the helm.

"He leaves the All Blacks job as one of the greatest coaches in the game," Tew said. "His record is unsurpassed and while he will now get time to spend with family and friends, and the odd bit of fishing, we are delighted that Graham is still going to be involved in New Zealand rugby.

"He has a great relationship with the country's professional coaches, as well as other coaches, and he still has so much to offer the game and it's fantastic that up-and-coming New Zealand coaches will continue to benefit from his vast knowledge."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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