New Zealand v Ireland, New Plymouth, June 12
Henry raises ref concerns
June 7, 2010
All Blacks coach Graham Henry stalks the touchline at Twickenham, November 20, 2009
Graham Henry hopes to see consistenct from northern hemisphere referees © Getty Images

All Blacks coach Graham Henry hopes that the northern hemisphere referees will be able to keep up with the law interpretations present in the Super 14 when they take charge of Tests this summer.

Henry and his side are set for a reunion with England's Wayne Barnes when they take on Ireland in New Plymouth on Saturday, with the official blamed in certain quarters for the All Blacks' exit at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Henry pinpointed the breakdown and scrum as his major areas of concern prior to the fixture.

"I always speak to the referee, but whether it makes a difference is very debatable," Henry said. "I've tried to love them, I've tried to kick them, I've tried to ignore them, and nothing's worked.

"It's going to be a challenge for the northern hemisphere referees because in the European Cup they didn't play to these rules. But in their own competitions they may have. They know what rules we are playing to and hopefully they can handle it."

"We talk about the same thing every time. Basically, the game at the tackle is going to be important, the game at the scrum is going to be important, with everyone square and pushing straight. If we get those two things right we'll have a good game of football."

The All Blacks were welcomed to New Plymouth airport by around 200 fans, with Hurricanes centre Conrad Smith, a former local, excited to put on a show. The last time the All Blacks were in town they strolled past a depleted Samoa 101-14 in 2008.

"I felt pretty lucky a couple of years ago with the Samoan test, but this is bigger and better. It's great for the region more than it is for me," he said. "This will be a much closer game. They're a quality side at the moment, the Irish and we're going to have a big job on our hands. But it's been exciting so far with this group and it'll be nice to start a new international season."


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