Survey Shows support for Henry as All Blacks coach

A majority of New Zealanders support the reappointment of Graham Henry as All Blacks coach, although he led to the team last month to its worst performance in Rugby World Cup history, a survey shows.


The survey, conducted by URM research and released Tuesday, shows 61 percent of New Zealand approved of the New Zealand Rugby Union’s decision last week to reappoint Henry for a two-year term.


Henry became the first All Blacks coach to retain his job after a Rugby World Cup defeat, holding out a challenge for his position from successful Canterbury Crusaders Super 14 coach Robbie Deans.


The URM survey showed support for Henry declined with age. Henry’s reappointment was approved by 74 percent of respondents aged under 30 but only 51 percent of those over 60.


Opposition to Henry was strongest in Christchurch, Robbie Deans’ home town, but 57 per cent of those polled in the South Island city were in favor of Henry’s reappointment.


The survey asked respondents to state why they though the All Blacks had lost to France, 20-18, in the tournament quarterfinals. The main reasons given were the French defense, the referee, the All Blacks’ lack of composure in the last 10 minutes and the lack of competitive matches in pool play.


Sapa-AP Rugbyweek.com

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