New Zealand Rugby
Henry open to All Black Super 15 influence
July 2, 2010

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has confirmed the possibility of one of his assistants coaching a Super 15 franchise next season.

Reports have linked Steve Hansen with the hotseat at the Highlanders while Wayne Smith has been mentioned in connection with a role at the Blues. The duo are currently in camp with the All Blacks as they prepare for their Tri-Nations opener against South Africa in Auckland next weekend.

"I think there's some foundation to the speculation," Henry said. "I don't want to say it's not going to happen, I don't want to say it is going to happen, because I don't know.

"It hasn't been decided and it's a franchise decision at the end of the day, plus the New Zealand Rugby Union. If that's the best decision to do what we have to do, and it's the best utilisation of the three All Black coaches I've got no problem with it."

Regardless of whether one of his assistants takes on a role in Super Rugby, Henry has made clear the importance he will place on added interaction with leading players in the build-up to next year's Rugby World Cup.

"There's eight months where we don't have any contact with players in a coaching sense with the team, and that's a hell of a long time leading into a World Cup," he said. "We're getting them with four Test matches to play and then a Rugby World Cup, so we might have five or six weeks prior to the World Cup, and eight months prior to that with no contact.

"The big thing is that we've got to have the ability to talk to the players and just keep them up to date with plans, keep our relationship going for want of a better term, so we're sharing ideas, helping them develop their games as individuals, and hopefully that helps the franchises."

Meanwhile, the All Blacks could break new ground in August by taking on the Springboks in Soweto. While the change is yet to be confirmed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) it is believed that the August 21 Tri-Nations showdown will be switched from Ellis Park to the newly-minted Soccer City, following in the footsteps of the Bulls, who staged the Super 14 semi-final and final at Orlando Stadium.

"Yeah, that's official isn't it?" Henry said, before turning to his media liaison officer, who said it was not official. "No, I'm not allowed to say that, no, it's only speculation that we're playing in a stadium that holds 97,000. Gee, that would be great wouldn't it? I can't wait."


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