Graham Henry

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The head coach of the New Zealand All Blacks, and former coach for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, shares his winning formula for success.

The right attitude

You can't control the uncontrollable, you've just got to get on and do your bit. Obviously, in the New Zealand team we have lots of talent, but players can be very talented and not make it because their attitude is not 100%. Attitude is critical. Attitude is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and always working to improve.

The motivation to succeed

The top international players, whether they are Welsh or New Zealanders, will have that motivation. They'll want to do it for themselves, for their family, and they'll want to do it for their country. It's important to provide a very good environment and to ensure that expectations are high at all times. If you haven't got good standards, you're never going to produce the ultimate sporting team.


Graham Henry

8 June 1946

Christchurch, New Zealand


All Blacks Head Coach

Teams coached:

  • Auckland (1992-1997)
  • Auckland Blues (1996-1998)
  • Wales (1998-2002)
  • British and Irish Lions (2001)
  • All Blacks (2004-present)


  • IRB International Coach of the Year (2005,2006,2008)


It's about a four letter word called "work". You've got to make sure your head's right so you can handle all the pressures of international rugby. It's a combination of skill and fitness, and I think you've got to live a lifestyle of high standards if you want to produce high standards as a footballer.


We've got tons of weaknesses, especially with trying to keep the side together and develop the All Blacks as a rugby team. Some players are older and they have families and you are away from home a lot as an All Black. We've only got 140,000 rugby players in New Zealand, whereas England has over a million. So we haven't got a huge number, but we've got enough and the development programme is very good.

Practice makes perfect

Mental preparation is just like physical preparation. It's an ongoing process and you get better at it the more you practice. It's not something you can do for an hour before you go on the field, it's a skill that is developed over a number of years.

Work as a team

Our players have got a very clear understanding of what is expected of them, both on the field and off the field, reasonably early on in their time as an All Black. We have some hiccups along the line, but we can deal with those, bringing them to the surface and I think that helps the group. So we're never perfect, we're always trying to be perfect, but we're never perfect.

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