Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry: Australia and South Africa have been "woeful"

"I think it's probably the worst Australian team I have ever seen and that's a real worry for the game," he said in an interview

BY Newstalk 13:44 Saturday 17 September 2016, 13:44 17 Sep 2016

Image: Tony Marshall / EMPICS Sport

Former All-Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry says the quality of teams in the Rugby Championship has dropped significantly and that South Africa and Australia's performances thus far have been "woeful".

In an interview with New Zealand media outletNewstalk ZB, he voiced his worry over the performances over those contesting the league.

"It's a concern," he said. "We haven't played South Africa yet, but they got beaten by Australia and they are woeful. I think it's probably the worst Australian team I have ever seen and that's a real worry for the game.

"You want Australia playing rugby and you want Australia playing well. And you want South Africa to be doing the same thing. But South Africa have probably lost half of their tests over the last three years.

"Australia looked okay at the [2015] World Cup but have fallen away badly this year. We really need these sides to be competitive to create interest in the game and bring crowds."

New Zealand are currently enjoying a 15-game winning streak and have not lost a test in New Zealand since 2009 - a total of 44 games.

On Saturday morning, New Zealand claimed the Rugby Championship with two matches to spare after beating South Africa 41-13 in Christchurch.

"I think the All Blacks team need to continue with their [winning] attitude," he continued. "They won't worry about any of this talk, and rightly so. Steve, Kieran [Read] and the group will continue to strive to get better and play their best game of the season in Christchurch. That's the culture of the team.

"The general supporter who likes great games of rugby has some concerns, and rightly so.

"In New Zealand, everything is in place for the All Blacks to be the best they can be, but in South Africa, there are major political issues [in the game] and in Australia, you have three other sports seen as bigger than rugby and, if they don't win, guys are not going to play [the sport]."

The All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup last year and had to cope with the departure of a number of high profile departures. 

"I wondered whether they could step up another level after Richie [McCaw] and his band of merry men who retired together [moved on] but they have.

"The team - coaches and players - look at it and say, 'how can we step it up another level?' If Richie, Conrad [Smith] and others were there, I'm sure they would have done the same thing. I don't think it's necessarily the new players [who have helped take it to a new level] but a team wanting to get better. That's what drives them, getting better every day and every season."


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