Australia 18-19 New Zealand, Tri-Nations, August 22
Henry praises gutsy All Blacks
August 22, 2009

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has praised his side's resilience after they fought back from a 12-3 half-time deficit to retain the Bledisloe Cup with a 19-18 win over Australia in Sydney.

Victory ensured that New Zealand remain in with a shout of defending their Tri-Nations crown, with the fit-again Dan Carter starring with the winning penalty.

"I was just very proud of the character shown by the players tonight," Henry told Reuters. "It was just mental toughness, because we didn't get the roll of the dice.

"The Australians are a very good side and they really stretched us tonight and there was just a feeling of pride after the game for what the guys achieved. Our guys showed a huge amount of intestinal fortitude. It just shows the guys have got the guts to hang in and keep going."

Henry's sentiments were echoed by his skipper, Richie McCaw, who saw his side win for the first time since their opening victory over the Wallabies on July 18.

"You've just got to keep believing," he said. "That was a hell of a Test match, we really had to dig deep for that. There were times at the end when we let them back in but that's what Test rugby is all about."

The All Blacks now have a break before facing South Africa in Hamilton on September 12, while the Wallabies now face the Springboks in back-to-back Tests starting next weekend in Perth.


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