Henry praises steady Slade
July 22, 2011
All Blacks fly-half Colin Slade is tackled © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Graham Henry reserved praise for fly-half Colin Slade in the wake of their season-opening 60-14 victory over Fiji in Dunedin on Friday night.
The Highlanders playmaker - tasked with deputising for Dan Carter during the Tri-Nations - lasted 60 minutes on his full debut before being replaced due to a knee problem, scoring 19 points including a solo try.
"He went pretty soundly," Henry told Yahoo. "He's got a knee problem and that's why we replaced him early in the second-half. He'll be frustrated because of that situation."
Henry was generally pleased with his side's performance, which also yielded a penalty try thanks to their dominance at the scrum and further efforts from Sitiveni Sivivatu, Andrew Hore, Adam Thomson, Conrad Smith, Piri Weepu and Mils Muliaina.
"We played well in patches and we scored some good tries," Henry said. "We were inconsistent in our execution but it's what you'd expect. I think we've got quite a bit of work to do as a team but to score 60 points is pleasing."
New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw highlighted the breakdown as an area of concern however, and called on his charges to sharpen up before their Tri-Nations tilt gets underway against South Africa on July 30.
"Where we let ourselves down today was at the breakdown. We didn't get clean ball and the halfback got interfered with or the ball got slowed up," he said. "The endeavour of what we were trying to do was good. It's just getting the detail right."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship