Henry vows to take Argentina to a new level

Rugby World Cup-winning former All Black coach Graham Henry has insisted that he can take Argentina to another level as they prepare for the Rugby Championship.

Henry has been appointed technical consultant to the Pumas, who will compete for the first time in the Rugby Championships – formerly the Tri-Nations – against New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

“Argentina are faced with a very important challenge but we need this in order to improve because we can’t improve by playing the weakest, we need to play the strongest,” said the former New Zealand and Wales coach.

Henry’s role will be to work closely for seven weeks with head coach Santiago Phelan during preparations for international matches.

“My job with the coaches is to exchange ideas, and help them improve their game,” explained Henry, who led the All Blacks for seven years but stepped down after leading them to glory at last year’s World Cup on home soil.

“I’m going to work five weeks here, another two in New Zealand and Australia. I would like to help more but I have my family and they are at present by main responsibilty.”

The 65-year-old, who was previously known as ‘The Great Redeemer’ for his work during four years with Wales, explained that his love of the game had been too much for him just to retire.

“Rugby is in my blood. Coaching is like a disease. I like coaching and I like the game. Argentina is a challenge and I enjoy a challenge. I also respect the people here. They are good people, good rugby people, so this is also a privilege for me.”

Henry continued: “I think that Argentinian rugby is in good shape, as they did well in the last two World Cups.

“We’ve begun a process, and I’m impressed with all the information that I’ve received from the coaches. I hope that my ideas will be useful and allow them to continue to improve.

“This tournament is a big opportunity. We could feel inhibited but we could also give our best.”

Praising the Puma “character, personality and fighting spirit”, he added: “they defend very well, they only need to score more tries, that’s all.”

Phelan added: “It’s with pride that Graham helps us. The Pumas staff are very keen to show him how we work so that he can give us his vision and apply his concepts.”

The Pumas will play their inaugural Four Nations match against South Africa, on August 25, at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in the western city of Mendoza.

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