All Blacks will not be rested in 2011
May 22, 2010
Graham Henry will not rest his All Blacks in 2011 © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Graham Henry has admitted that there will be no repeat of the rest and conditioning plan for top players prior to next year's Rugby World Cup.
In 2007 leading All Blacks were withdrawn from Super 14 competition in order to prepare for the tournament in France, a plan which failed to yield results as New Zealand crashed out at the quarter-final stages.
The road to 2011 has begun for Henry and his coaching team, with Tests against Wales and Ireland next month leading up to the last full Tri-Nations before rugby's global showpiece heads to New Zealand.
"If we just put all our focus on the World Cup, I think we would fall over and be highly embarrassed," Henry told The New Zealand Herald. "I think we just need to get better at what we are doing through each of these campaigns and if we do that, we are going to have a good foundation for the World Cup.
"There was no harmony on that last time with the Super teams and the All Blacks, so we have to make sure we are all working on this to try and produce something which is really positive."
Henry's long game has extended to New Zealand's Super 14 franchises, with regular visits paid to the Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes.
"We have discussed the players' games and their coaches have been present at those meetings and they have been very helpful discussions," he said. "We started that this year so we could perfect it for next season."
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