Most coaches who have unsuccessful Rugby World Cup campaigns are instantly axed by the time their side’s plane has hit the runway. History presents us with only two exceptions to this; Sir Clive Woodward, and Graham Henry.
The former Auckland, Wales and Lions coach took up the position of New Zealand Head Coach in 2003, and now eight years on leaves them as World Champions. With Henry speaking on Radio 5 Live this morning about how he would like to work with a club or union in Europe, “The Great Redeemer” will not be short of options. Here’s a look back on his reign:
12th June 2004: New Zealand 36-3 England
Henry’s first game in charge of New Zealand saw the visit of world champions England to Dunedin, led by Sir Clive Woodward. They were comprehensively defeated by the All Blacks with a final score of 36-3. Fielding Dan Carter at inside centre, there were tries from Doug Howlett, Joe Rokocoko and Carlos Spencer.
20th November 2004: Wales 25-26 New Zealand
On his return to Wales for the first time since becoming All Blacks coach, Henry’s side beat the hosts by just a single point at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, winning 26-25 with Joe Rokocoko grabbing a brace of tries.
9th July 2005: New Zealand 38-19 British & Irish Lions
The All Blacks defeated the British & Irish Lions in the third test in Auckland, wrapping up a series whitewash against the touring side. In total the All Blacks scored 107 points against the Lions over the three tests, conceding just 40. As a result, Henry was named IRB Coach of the Year, with Dan Carter becoming Player of the Year and the All Blacks winning Team of the Year.
15th September 2007: New Zealand 108-13 Portugal
The biggest win of Henry’s time in charge of New Zealand came against Portugal in the 2007 Rugby World Cup Pool stages, the All Blacks running in 16 tries against the minnows, with a final score of 108-13.
6th October 2007: New Zealand 18-20 France
The nightmare. New Zealand lost to France in the quarter-finals of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. A controversial forward pass for what proved the decisive try left New Zealand stunned, as once again they choked on the big stage, putting Graham Henry’s job on the line. He was controversially re-appointed.
13th June 2009: New Zealand 22-27 France
New Zealand lose at home for the first time since defeat to England back in 2003, with Cedric Heymans scoring an inspirational try and France winning 27-22 in Dunedin.
30th October 2010: New Zealand 24-26 Australia
The All Blacks lose a tour match against the Wallabies in Hong Kong, thanks to a last minute try and conversion from James O’Connor. Australia were coached by Robbie Deans, who was Henry’s rival for the All Blacks job back in 2007.
27th August 2011: Australia 25-20 New Zealand
Australia defeat the All Blacks in Brisbane by 25 points to 20 to win the Tri-Nations title, thanks to a superb try from Radike Samo. The result added pressure onto Henry’s shoulders just a few weeks ahead of the start of the Rugby World Cup.
23 October 2011: New Zealand 8-7 France
New Zealand win the Rugby World Cup, defeating France in the final in Auckland in front of an emotional home crowd by 8-7, sparking wild celebrations across the country with the All Blacks taking the trophy around Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington. Henry declares that he will not serve another term as All Blacks coach, and steps down a week later.
Henry’s All Black Record: W 88 L 15 D 0