Public should tell players to enjoy themselves

Former Wales and British & Irish Lions coach Graham Henry has urged the Welsh public not to heap too much pressure on the national side ahead of next Saturday's clash with England. [more]

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Former Wales and British & Irish Lions coach Graham Henry has urged the Welsh public not to heap too much pressure on the national side ahead of next Saturday’s clash with England.

Henry, who narrowly failed to mastermind a Lions series win over Australia in 2001, believes Mike Ruddock’s side have a good chance of beating the world champions, but he is worried the weight of expectation from a success-starved Welsh public could prove too much for the young team to handle.

‘The big thing for the Welsh public is not to put pressure on the team,’
Henry told the Western Mail.

‘I noticed, when I was coach of Wales between 1998 and 2002, the expectation was always, ‘win, win, win’, rather than telling the players to go out and enjoy themselves.

‘The important thing for Mike’s team is the players he picks keep on expressing themselves, the way they have been.

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‘It’s best to leave them alone to train and continue with what they are trying to do.’

Henry accepts expectations will always be high in Wales because of the special affection with which rugby is held in the country.

‘We have got an identical problem here in New Zealand,’ he said.

‘I guess that’s inevitable, when you are playing international rugby in a country where rugby union is the number one sport.’

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