Henry lands dream position
December 19, 2003

Graham Henry has been confirmed as the new All Blacks coach on a two year contract.

Jock Hobbs the Auckland Rugby Union chairman has announced that after intensive interviews Henry had beaten off the challenge of the present incumbent John Mitchell in a unanimous decision of the board.

Mitchel had been at the helm for 28-tests and had netted 23 wins, four losses and a draw.

The decision of the NZRU board follows the interviews with Henry and Mitchell and reports from the interview panel of NZRU director Mike Eagle, vice-president and former All Blacks captain John Graham and chief executive officer Chris Moller.

"The appointment of Graham Henry comes after a comprehensive and robust process that reflects the critical role of the All Blacks Coach," Hobbs said speaking to allblacks.com.

"In the Board's view Graham Henry is the most qualified person to coach the All Blacks and achieve the very high standards we expect of them.

"Graham has an outstanding record as coach at Air New Zealand NPC, Rebel Sports Super 12 and at international level"

Hobbs thanked Mitchell for his work over the past two years: "While we are all naturally disappointed not to have won the Rugby World Cup, in the two years that John has held the job, the side has won the Philips Tri-Nations Series twice and brought back the Bledisloe Cup. In doing so, this young All Blacks side has achieved some outstanding results.

"John has a very good record as a coach and still has a lot to offer New Zealand rugby. The board thanks John for his significant contribution as All Blacks coach."

Henry has coached the Auckland team at NPC level his team won four titles from 1992-1997.

In 1996 he stepped up to the Super 12 with his Auckland Blues teams winning title in 1996 and 1997 and losing the final in 1998.

After a mixed tenure as Wash coach Henry returned to New Zealand and has been a technical advisor in the Auckland set-up for the last two years.

Under his guidance the Super 12, NPC (twice) and Ranfurly Shield have returned to the Eden Park trophy cabinet.

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