Henry impressed by Wallabies
July 25, 2010
New Zealand boss Graham Henry and his assistants Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith were in Brisbane to watch the Wallabies' victory over the Springboks © Getty Images
New Zealand boss Graham Henry has admitted he was impressed by Australia's 30-13 Tri-Nations victory over South Africa in Brisbane.
Henry and his assistants Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith were amongst a bumper crowd at the Suncorp Stadium that saw the Wallabies announce themselves as genuine title contenders with a fast-paced performance that proved too much for the Springboks to handle.
The home side's victory owed a lot to the All Blacks' recent back-to-back victories over South Africa where a similar approach dented the Boks' hopes of defending the Tri-Nations crown they won in impressive style last year. Australia welcome the All Blacks to Melbourne next weekend in the next Tri-Nations clash that also doubles as the opening Bledisloe Cup encounter of the year
"They used the ball well, they stretched the South Africans," remarked Henry. "They had a lot of variety and a lot of guys prepared to ball run. The structure of their attack was excellent and their defence was sound as well," he said.
But he was typically coy when asked if he had he seen any evidence to suggest the All Blacks' winning streak was under threat. "It's hard to say," he said noting the South Africans were clearly struggling after two "very physical contests" in New Zealand. "Saying that, the three of us (coaches) were all impressed with the Wallabies energy, their desire to play the game with width."
In related news, scrum-half Piri Weepu as he has become a father in time to join the All Blacks for Saturday's game in Melbourne. Weepu will join the squad in Melbourne on Tuesday after welcoming a daughter to the world in Wellington earlier today.
Arguably the standout player during the All Blacks' 31-17 defeat of South Africa on July 17 in the capital, the 26-year-old had been in doubt for the trans-Tasman trip as he awaited the arrival of his first child. However, he will now be in Melbourne when the starting 15 are named on Tuesday. Blues halfback Alby Mathewson had been on standby if Weepu was delayed in Wellington.