Henry wary of unpredictable France
October 21, 2011
Graham Henry speaks ahead of the final © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Graham Henry says the unpredictability of France makes them a dangerous proposition as his side finalises preparations for this Sunday's World Cup decider.
Henry moved to quash talk of his side being favourites for the final after announcing the squad to take on Les Bleus at Eden Park. The All Blacks coach believes the French have been generally underestimated due to the unimpressive nature of their path in the Tournament, but said it was not an attitude being held within the New Zealand camp.
"This French team, we're not sure who's going to turn up, quite frankly," said Henry. "So we've got to prepare that they're going to be the best in the world. They've certainly got the individuals to do that, it's just whether they can produce that as a side. All the word is that they've prepared well and they're very focused and they're enjoying the underdog tag.
"They feel that they're not being considered in this final by a lot of people. We don't think that. We think they're a very good rugby team."
Henry knows exactly what winning a World Cup for the first time since 1987 would mean for the host nation. The 65-year-old says victory on Sunday would be just reward for the All Blacks' endeavour.
"I've been with a lot of these guys for a long time and although they may be ranked the leading team in the world, they've never been world champions. It would be just marvellous to have that title because they've had every other title that's going in rugby apart from this one.
"So for Richie (McCaw) and the boys I think that would be fabulous and you don't deserve that title till you do the job. I think they're good enough and that would be the icing on the cake."
Henry's earlier sentiments were echoed by All Blacks starlet Jerome Kaino. The flanker believes France are not to be treated lightly leading into the match.
"I think they're dangerous. They've said themselves that they enjoy having the underdog tag and I think that's when the French team are most dangerous. I think they were written off in 2007 leading into that quarter-final and we've seen what they came out and produced," Kaino said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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