28 Aug 2011

Resting All Blacks backfired says Henry

6:07 pm on 28 August 2011

All Black coach Graham Henry has conceded that his ploy to rest players in the lead-up to the Tri-Nations decider back-fired spectacularly when the team failed to fire in Saturday night's 25-20 loss to the Wallabies.

Henry excused a raft of front-line players for the South Africa tour in the hope of refreshing them for the Wallabies in Brisbane.

"We thought that was the best step going forward into the Rugby World Cup and it didn't gel for some reason or other. It just didn't gel", Henry told reporters at the team's hotel on Sunday.

The net result was back-to-back losses that have robbed the All Blacks of momentum for next month's World Cup on home soil.

"(There was) some consolation in the way we came back and showed some grit in the second half but a disappointing game for us," said Henry.

But he warned the Wallabies a Tri-Nations title doesn't guarantee World Cup success.

Henry said there's no blueprint that winning the Tri-Nations is the recipe for winning a World Cup.

And he says if there was any complacency in the All Blacks, it is well gone - and that'll be an advantage going forward.

The All Blacks lost No. 8 Kieran Read and flanker Adam Thomson to injuries in the first half.

The forwards may now be in doubt for the World Cup and will undergo injury scans when the New Zealand side returns from Australia on Sunday.

Australia takes Tri-Nations title

Australia withstood a furious fightback from the All Blacks to take the Tri-Nations title for the first time in a decade.

The Wallabies set up their victory with a stunning first-half display to lead 20-3 at half time.

Australian No. 8 Radike Samo scored a breakout try in the 34th minute, racing 60 metres to the line, to give the team the lead.

After the break, the All Blacks controlled possession and Dan Carter added his second penalty before Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu each scored tries to level the score at 20-20.

Halfback Will Genia, felled by two training collisions during the week, rose to the occasion by setting up the match-winning try to Kurtley Beale.

The loss to the Wallabies on Saturday is only New Zealand's second in the past 13 matches against Australia.