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.
Huw Richards rewinds to 1864 to mark the birth of Welsh rugby's first authentic star - Arthur Gould
Michael Cheika has succeeded in becoming the Wallabies coach under his own terms, writes Greg Growden
In the blink of an eye, a winger can go from a hero to villain. Hugh Godwin talks to Zac Guildford and David Strettle about life on the flank
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time