Cardiff Blues rule out Graham Henry becoming new coach

Graham Henry
Former Wales coach Graham Henry took charge of the All Blacks in 2004

Chairman Peter Thomas insists Cardiff Blues will not approach New Zealand's World Cup winning coach Graham Henry to become the new Blues supremo.

Former Wales coach Henry has been linked with the vacant Blues position following Dai Young's departure to take over at London Wasps in June.

Wales assistants Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley have also been mentioned as possible full-time successors to Young.

But asked if Thomas would approach Henry, he replied: "No, not at all."

Thomas met with "good friend" Henry, who inspired the All Blacks to World Cup final triumph over France, during a recent trip to New Zealand.

But the Blues benefactor told BBC Wales' Scrum V television show: "There has been no discussion whatsoever for Graham Henry to come and coach the Cardiff Blues.

"I know he is coming to the UK in the near future and I'm sure he'll spend some time in Wales and if the opportunity arises I would be delighted for him to visit and have a look at the Cardiff Blues set-up.

"But there is no thought whatsoever on Graham Henry coming to coach the Cardiff Blues."

Asked, however, if Henry wanted to become the new coach at the Pro 12 club, Thomas replied: "Well, that is a different matter.

"But Graham is 65 years of age, he has just won the World Cup and is contracted to New Zealand until March.

"And we couldn't afford him, that's the bottom line.

"Apart from that, he needs a break now."

Henry, who coached Wales between 1998 and 2002 and managed the 2001 British and Irish Lions on their tour to Australia, is a man in demand after leading New Zealand to their first world crown in 24 years.

The 65-year-old has admitted he would be interested in working with the Rugby Football Union after agreeing to coach the Barbarians in their 26 November match against Australia at Twickenham.

"He is the Sir Alex Ferguson of rugby, there is no question about it," said Thomas.

"He has an 83% record in Test rugby, there's nobody to touch him. He is head and shoulders above everyone. I'm delighted to call him a friend."

Henry is among the favourites to replace Young at the Cardiff City Stadium while Wales coach Warren Gatland's assistants Edwards and Howley had their reputations enhanced as the Welsh finished fourth at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Young's former assistants Gareth Baber and Justin Burnell are in joint temporary charge of the Welsh club and Thomas revealed their positions will be reviewed at the Blues' November board meeting.

"We'll take stock of where we are...a third of the way through the season," said Thomas.

"We'll get our Rugby World Cup players back and the board will decide which way that we'll be going for the rest of the season."