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Tri-Nations
Henry supports under-siege Deans
ESPNscrum Staff
July 20, 2011
All Blacks head coach Graham Henry casts an eye over his players, New Zealand training session, AUT Akoranga Campus, Auckland, New Zealand, July 15, 2011
Graham Henry has shown support for Robbie Deans after the Wallabies' shock loss to Samoa © Getty Images
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New Zealand coach Graham Henry has defended one of his greatest rivals in Australian counterpart Robbie Deans following the Wallabies' shock loss to Samoa.

The Pacific island nation claimed a 32-23 in Sydney on Saturday, with Deans coming under heavy scrutiny in the aftermath.

The Wallabies fielded an under strength side as Deans sought to give Queensland Reds players, who had just played in the Super Rugby final, a rest ahead of the Tri-Nations a decision Henry supported.

"Robbie's got a bit of stick from the media which I think is questionable," Henry said.

"How does he play those Reds players? Throw them out there again, kill them? Or be pragmatic?

"He was hoping that he'd do the business without the Reds players but it didn't happen that way so he gets a lot of stick for making the right decision.

"I've got some sympathy for him," he said after naming the All Blacks test team to face Fiji in Dunedin on Friday night.

The loss means Deans' three-year tenure has yielded 24 wins from 44 tests but Henry said not enough credit had been given to Samoa for their performance. The All Blacks boss was also wary of the effect it may have on the Wallabies' performances as they prepare to face them in the upcoming Tri-Nations tournament.

"I thought the Samoans played bloody well. I thought they played the game tactically very well and they were up for it mentally and physically," he said.

"It just shows you that any side in the world in the top 10 or so can do the job, you've just got to prepare correctly.

"In the long-term it won't do the Australians any harm. It'll give them an extra edge, an extra determination. They've had a wake-up call."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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