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The NZRFU have just announced that All Black coach Graham Henry is going to be taking part in the TVNZ show Dancing with the Stars later this year. Graham Henry has taken a lot of public criticism about the decision, especially considering he has a groin strain which many people believe will be aggravated through aggressive dancing.  With so many people questioning his loyalty to the All Blacks in World Cup year, Graham Henry talked with Radio Sport host Tony Veitch earlier today to explain his position.

“I think a lot of people are jumping to conclusions. The main thing was me doing DWTS wouldn’t have been any less time spent on the sidelines or if I didn’t do dancing. That’s what everyone needs to understand,” he told Radio Sport’s Tony Veitch.

“When I’m in the ring on the dance floor I can’t even feel it (his weak groin). I take all precautions with dancing, especially my signature dance, the Tango. People have jumped to conclusions saying I broke my leg groin and I’m doing dancing but that’s hardly the case.

“I’m sure the New Zealand Rugby Union wouldn’t allow me to do it if it was going to jeopardise my rugby.”

Henry says he has been consulting with All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson throughout his dancing training.

“She’s fine with everything and how everything is going. The plan was for me to get back and to be able to go straight into full training but I think it’s taken a couple of extra weeks longer than was thought. It’s just normal with these kind of injuries but it’s really a big concern,” he said.

“I talked with all of them (All Blacks staff and players) at the end of last game. The day after I went and got a scan and found out about the results. Straight away we had a big talk and we all came to the conclusion that it was not going to be a problem.”

Henry has the possibility of another dance before the World Cup in September, if he feels it would be beneficial.



ALL BLACKS beaten by… the All Blacks

The All Blacks have continued their pursuit of excellence with another superb display against the All Blacks. In their quest to become the most rounded side in world rugby they have added to their impressive arsenal the ability to beat themselves.

Obviously finding good opposition has been hard in the last few weeks. In an effort to find some worthy opposition the All Blacks decided to give the Aussies 5 penalties and a couple of tries in the first 20. Despite being useless the Aussies managed to get a few points on the board. But then when the All Blacks decided to turn up and play the All Blacks found the game a little too easy. Within  the space of a few minutes the All Blacks had cantered out to a healthy 12 point lead.

So with nothing left to do All Black coach Graham Henry decided to see if the All Blacks good beat themselves in the final 20 minutes. They duly obliged. In an inspired substitution he decided to bring in Isaia Toeava and Stephen Donald. These two players were specially chosen for this role  as they both have the unique ability to ‘snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.’

These two didn’t disappoint today. Slipping over, missed tackles, pointless kicking and stupid decision making meant that within the mater of minutes that All Blacks were beaten by the……….. All Blacks.

Graham Henry was equally as happy when he spoke to Ozy Mandias after the game. “Finally we are starting to get a new facet to our game in that last 20minutes. In the past we have been so predictable, crunching and smashing the opposition in the final 1/4. It all got a little predictable and our fear is that the opposition would soon work out a way to combat that. But now with Donald and Toeava as key players the opposition wont know what to expect in that last 20min. More importantly though it means that by World Cup Semi Final time, will be able to, squander leads of 20 to 3o points with the substitution of a couple of players. This really makes us a far more rounded side.”

Finally today lets have a little caption competition.

Stephen Donald gets a talking to after his latest game.


Do you get the feeling that Robbie Dean woke up this morning with that familiar feeling following his last 10 games against the ALL BLACKS. I wonder if the same radio station was playing, becuase the same newspaper articles will be published……

Aussies lack of real firepower

Aussies lack of real fitness

Aussies lack of a real goal kicker

Aussie perform well in the first half

Aussie fold like a deck of cards in the final 20.


Take a bow Graham Henry.

People talk of All Black players Kevin Mealamu and Mils Muliaina getting better with age, but in my humble opinion it is the coach who is leading by example and finding form when it is most needed.

Another comprehensive victory over the Wallabies in the weekend means he has now clocked up 8 victories in a row against the yellow submarines. Here at Backing Black we are always quick to pour adjectives on our favourite players in the same way an Otago uni student pours gravy on his spuds. So today sit back an relax as we soak our coach in a bit of plaudit gravy and rejoice in another All Black victory.

Last weekends 49-28 victory over the Aussies was sensational and the week prior proved just as stimulating as both coaches attempted to gain the upper hand before kickoff. Ultimately it was Graham Henry who won on both counts. In the yellow corner we had Canterbury’s favourite son, Robbie Deans. Younger and more agile than his opposite, but without a proven track record in test matches. In the Black corner we have the old fox, Graham Henry. Ex school headmaster with a sly grin and dry sense of humour.

Deans came out swinging, like the young buck he is, with the classic Monday morning coaching headline, “All Blacks are the favourites.” This is the first rule of any coaching manual and is almost a given in today’s modern game. Build up the opposition and downplay your own team.

But this was no one punch wonder from Deans. He has learnt his coaching skills in the Super 14 and while verbally attacking the Blacks in the print media he sent off a cameraman to spy on the All Blacks. Hoping to unearth some tactical secrets with the aide of a giant 50 foot, nuclear powered, telescopic camera.

Henry has seen every trick in the book and was ready with a superb counterattack. While firing orders around the training paddock early Tuesday morning, Henry then got out his shopping list his wife had given him earlier that day. Henry knew the cameraman was there and let him snap away. The cameraman couldn’t believe his luck and kept snapping while Henry kept exposing his A4 hand drawn doodle  to the world. The result was perfect. The Aussies thought they had the All Blacks game plan in the palm of their hands and went away cock-a-hoot. In reality all it was was a map of Graham’s local Pak’nSave and his new directions for buying shepherd’s pie in less than 3 minutes!  

The irony was every person this side of the Tasman knew it was his shopping list while over the ditch Deans and his coaching stable spent the entire week trying to analyse the photo thinking it was some fantastic game plan. Forensic examinations were used, handwriting experts consulted and even a life-size model made by Deans in his own backyard in an attempt to understand what makes the team in Black tick. And while Deans analysed, Henry had his sly grin working overtime as later that day he completed his shepherd’s pie shopping in recorded time thanks to a ‘double scissor’ move down the sauces isle.

The result of this coaching masterpiece was beautiful to watch on Saturday night. The All Blacks pace and power was clinical and decisive. The Wallabies on the other hand had spent so long looking at the ‘supermarket plan’ they actually played like a team inside a Pak’nSave supermarket. On attack they kept bumping into one another, as you do with those stupid supermarket trolleys. Their front row resembled a strawberry tart from the delicatessen department, firm on the outside but soft when pressure was applied. Their backline was as slow as a supermarket queue at 5:30pm on Thursday night and when Drew Mitchell was finally expelled from the game, he looked like a naughty little shoplifter caught in the act.

So what will we see from our coaches this week. Dingo Deans is back in his old stomping ground of Christchurch. He knows almost every blade of grass on this pitch by name, height and ethnicity so in some respects it is almost a home game. He will have learnt a lot from last week and he and his yellow submarine team will be hoping to turn the tide and finally win a game against the Black machine. In the Black camp Master Henry will be looking to secure the Tri Nations with a bonus point victory and retain the Bledisloe in one swift and superb outing. I know which way I’m leaning, what about you?