Henry hails All Blacks' defence
August 6, 2011
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw holds aloft the Bledisloe Cup © Getty Images
All Blacks head coach Graham Henry was a satisfied man after watching his side make it two wins from two in this season's Tri-Nations with an impressive 30-14 victory over Australia in Auckland on Saturday.
New Zealand's win was founded on a terrific first-half performance during which they racked up 17 unanswered points courtesy of a brace of converted tries from Ma'a Nonu and Keven Mealamu, and a penalty and a drop goal from fly-half Dan Carter.
Australia managed two second-half tries through Digby Ioane and Rocky Elsom, either side of a touchdown for Sitiveni Sivivatu, but the home side's grip on the Bledisloe Cup never looked like loosening.
Henry commented: "It's the biggest cup these guys play for apart from that little yellow one and it is important to them, so it's great to put it away from another year. I thought the guys played bloody well and were up for it, they were physical and scored some good tries."
However, Henry did admit that the All Blacks have some things to work on given that the Wallabies dominated territory and possession for long periods.
"We gave away a number of scrum penalties which was annoying, so every time we tried to put pressure on them we gave away a penalty," he said.
"We'll go back to the drawing board on a few things and we're not the finished article by any stretch of the imagination, so we've got some things to add to our game."
However, defensively, the Kiwis were magnificent, particularly during the first half, and Henry was quick to single out Carter, who made several vital tackles, for special praise.
"He [Carter] had an outstanding game didn't he?" Henry said of his No.10. "I thought Ma'a Nonu had an outstanding game as well and Conrad Smith, so all three inside backs were pretty special."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape