Henry hails "special" display
July 10, 2010
Centre Conrad Smith scores in New Zealand's win over South Africa © Getty Images
New Zealand coach Graham Henry hailed his side's performance as "pretty special" after they overcame South Africa 32-12 in the opening Tri-Nations match at Eden Park.
Tries from Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Kieran Read and Tony Woodcock ensured a bonus-point win as they ended a run of three successive defeats to the Springboks.
Dan Carter contributed 12 points with his boot, while South Africa were restricted to penalties from fly-half Morne Steyn as the All Blacks suppressed the Springbok's set-piece and forward power. And Henry was full of praise for his team's showing.
"They trained very well all week," Henry told Sky Sports. " There was very good preparation and the guys were on edge. They wanted to play well and had a good build up in the previous three games and it was pretty special tonight."
But with the opportunity for South Africa to bounce back straight away when the sides play again in Wellington next weekend, Henry emphasised that they would have to maintain their high standards. "We haven't done the job yet," he said. "Next week is very important. If we do the job next week we have a very good chance of winning this thing."
Captain Richie McCaw insisted that the performance was built on doing the basics well.
"I was pretty proud of the way the guys made really good decision and we built the pressure and took our chances, which you had to do," he said. "Whether to kick or carry the guys looked at what was in front of them. You can have a go in your own half as long as look after the ball and do the little things right."
Springbok skipper John Smit rued the early sin binning of Bakkies Botha as the All Blacks overran their opponents from the opening whistle.
"We have to up our tempo a little bit, we didn't really give it much of a contest today but we will be back," he said. "It was very silly. Discipline wins and loses Tests. We have a lot to work on this week."
Springboks coach Peter de Villiers added, "There is no need to panic. There is nothing that we cannot fix. We played too much rugby in our own half and we did not have the aggression that the All Blacks showed. If we allow them to compete with us physically and win the contests, we will pay the price."