Australia v New Zealand, Tri-Nations, Melbourne, July 31
All Blacks unhappy over photo of gameplan
July 28, 2010
Scott Barbour's photo of Graham Henry's set plays © Getty Images
All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen has spoken of his disappointment over a "breach of trust" by a Getty Images photographer who snapped a page of tactics in coach Graham Henry's hand at training.
The image, featuring illustrations of a handful of set plays from line-outs and scrums, has been reproduced in Australian media and dissected by journalists looking to identify New Zealand's strategies when they continue their Tri-Nations campaign with the first Bledisloe Test at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium.
Both camps have played down the significance of the photo in terms of its ability to give the Wallabies an advantage on Saturday, but photographer Scott Barbour may not be welcome at future All Blacks sessions anytime soon after taking his access too far in Hansen's eyes.
"It's disappointing the photographer has broken the unwritten rule but you can't do much about it," Hansen said. "With any breach of trust you take your time and talk about it. It's not the end of the world. We will deal with that in our own way.
"We won't have to change our tactics too much. There are a whole lot of things that are going to happen on Saturday night and I don't think one photo is going to make too much difference."
The Australian newspaper ran a full analysis of the scribbled notes, revealing that Wallabies backs Matt Giteau and James O'Connor would be targeted in defence, while influential flanker David Pocock would be avoided. The strategy of attacking weaker defenders, and not stronger ones, is hardly likely to surprise the Wallabies. Melbourne-based newspapers the Age and Herald Sun also published the image.
The Wallabies saw the photograph over breakfast on Wednesday and downplayed its significance.
"I wouldn't read too much into it myself, it's just a picture of training," said assistant coach Jim Williams. "Certain teams will be trying to put a bit of focus on the opposition but realistically it's about how you prepare and what you're going to do in the game, and pushing that forward during the week."