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 latest Week in Pictures takes in the Top 14, Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership with fireworks and monsters both featuring
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
It is 100 years this week since the last international match played in Europe before the outbreak of World War One. Rewind remembers the fixture's longest-living survivor
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14