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New Zealand Rugby
Henry distances himself from RFU job
ESPNscrum Staff
October 31, 2011

Graham Henry has played down reports linking him with a role within the Rugby Football Union (RFU) but did admit that he is open to offers from the northern hemisphere.

The 65-year-old New Zealander announced his decision to stand down as All Blacks coach on Tuesday, just over a week after leading his country to a first Rugby World Cup success since 1987.

The news immediately prompted speculation that Henry will now take up a position with the RFU given that last week he told the Daily Telegraph that he would be open to the idea of helping England rebuild after their calamitous World Cup campaign.

However, the former British & Irish Lions boss moved to distance himself from those comments after officially announcing the end of his All Blacks tenure.

"There was a wee bit of a stretch in the article," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "I would like to spend a little bit of time, not a long time because I have important family over here (in New Zealand), but a little bit of time assisting if there is a demand from a club or from a union in Europe over the next few years."

Henry is also set to take on a "coach mentor" role with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and he admitted that only an offer that makes financial as well as sporting sense will persuade him to move overseas.

"It's a bit of both to be frank, blatantly frank," he said. "If you are going to get involved in a club in Europe you can only do one club, that's important, and I haven't got a lot of time due to things in have to do in New Zealand. It would be stimulating and challenging but we will see what happens."

Henry also threw his weight behind under-fire England team manager Martin Johnson, whose future is likely to be decided after the completion of two separate reviews of his side's shambolic performances - on and off the field - in New Zealand.

"I know Martin reasonably well as he was captain of the Lions in 2001 and he was a fabulous leader. I'd imagine he's still the same character, people don't change.

"Often we shoot our coaches because they haven't got the results but they remain the best people for the job. If Martin is the best person for the job he should be re-appointed."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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