1 Nov 2011

Graham Henry calls it quits

5:54 pm on 1 November 2011

Nine days after coaching the All Blacks to their first Rugby World Cup in 24 years, coach Graham Henry has announced he's stepping down.

Henry has coached the side for the past eight years.

He was controversially reappointed after the 2007 World Cup quarter-final loss to France.

At Tuesday's announcement in Auckland, Henry said this was the time to "rule off" and in a positive way.

He recalled the team had won around 29 of its last 32 test matches, one Tri-Nations, one Grand Slam, had retained the Bledisloe Cup and got the World Cup.

"It's a 90% record and you can't finish better than that!"

Henry made special mention of his family, thanking his 95-year-old mother Ann and his wife Raewyn for their support over the years.

Henry says it has been an enormous privilege to be involved with the All Blacks, but it is time to focus on other interests and take the pressure off his family.

He says it will also give him more time to focus on his business interests in China and fulfill a long-term goal to run his own business.

Speaking to Checkpoint Henry talking about the pressure of the job and said he had "had enough".

He said the pressure during the last 20 minutes of the World Cup Final against the French had been "horrendous". "It's the difference between being a hero or a villain I guess."

Henry will not however be lost to the sport, with the New Zealand Rugby Union discussing the possibility of retaining him as a coach mentor for the country's leading coaches.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew says the union is delighted Henry is going to remain involved in New Zealand rugby.

88 wins in 103 Tests

Henry finishes his All Blacks career as one of the most successful rugby coaches of all time, having taken the side to 88 wins in 103 Tests.

As well as winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup every year since 2003, won the Tri Nations five times and achieved three Grand Slams against the northern hemisphere home unions.