All Blacks make coaching switch

Former Lions coach Graham Henry has accepted a radical switch in the roles of his New Zealand coaching team. [more]

All Blacks make coaching switch

Former Lions coach Graham Henry has accepted a radical switch in the roles of his New Zealand coaching team.

Henry, who led the Lions to Australia in 2001, has been in charge of the All Blacks since 2004.

Until now, he has coupled his role of head coach with that of defense coach, with assistants Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith looking after the forwards and backs respectively.

But that set up is about to change after senior players recommended a switch in responsibilities designed to revive the flagging fortunes of a side that has lost four of their last nine Tests.

Henry will now look after the forwards, while Smith will take care of the backs and Hansen will become defence coach.

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"If you’re a bit nervous about it, it brings the best out of you," said Henry, after five senior players suggesting the move.

"It’s good for me to have that challenge. I’ve got energy, I’m excited about that opportunity and I’ll be using a lot of the knowledge of the forward pack to help.

"We will be very tight in what we are doing in all of those roles. We will learn from each other and it’s good to experience another role in the side.

"We discussed it at some length and the reason behind it and the players are excited."

New Zealand are next in action against Australia in Tokyo on October 31 before taking on both Wales and England on a five-match tour of Europe throughout November and early December.

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