on 1 January 2002
Graham Henry is the ticket - OK, so he might have coached the Lions to a series loss against the Aussies but the Aussies are just a fantastic team. The best I've seen. OK, so he stacked the team with a few too many Welshmen. As far as I'm concerned there is no finer coach and no better writer of the modern genre of Rugby. He is a humourist, a philosopher and knows how to hold his Boddingtons. The little master we call him in my house - God bless him. Can't wait for the Y Factor sequel.
on 14 July 2013
This was a book that was desperately needed by a rugby following that saw Graham Henry 'appear' from nowhere and knew little of his background. There was a feeling in the UK that politics and rugby politicians were spoiling and stifling the game. We thought it was our own personal problem and that all was well in the Southern Hemisphere. It was not. Politics and power can over-influence any sport and New Zealand's loss was Wales' gain. Graham makes it clear that he still has a love of New Zealand, its rugby and people and I don't think anyone would be surprised to see him return one day (not soon).
For those looking for an insight into his coaching methods this book is for you. The decision to come to the uk does not happen until about half way through and up until then we learn just why the Southern Hemisphere teams took off and left us behind. Graham himself takes stock of what he finds over here and explains his attempt to change methods, thought processes and beliefs. It is obvious from the book that he is not the type of person that would accept no for an answer when it came to change.
"He (Derek Quinnell, father of Scott and Craig) was concerned that divisions had formed within the Welsh team because half the players were on contracts and half weren't. He gave the example of the match against England at Twickenham the previous season: about seven of the players on the pitch were commanding salaries of £30,000 to £40,000 while the other eight or so were on nothing. There was a win bonus system operating, which was of limited merit since the team were losing more matches than it was winning. Not unnaturally, friction was bubbling under the surface.
The first thing I did, in association with the rest of the management team, was to restructure the whole system..........."
A nice touch in this book and one that could be used more in other biographies ,is the intermittent articles by other journalists, sewn into the fabric of the story and supporting what Graham Henry is trying to get over.
You definitely don't have to come from Wales to enjoy this book, a number of my English and Scottish associates have borrowed and enjoyed.