10 Jul 2009

Atonement chance for All Black coaches

8:24 am on 10 July 2009

The All Blacks head coach Graham Henry and his two Assistant Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen have been given a chance to attone for the team's early exit from the last World Cup.

The New Zealand Rugby Union's chairman Jock Hobbs says the board decided in April not to wait until the end of the season to extend their involvement until after the 2011 World Cup.

By then they'll have been in charge for eight years and Hobb says the decision's based on their formidable record of 57 wins in 66 Tests - 86 per cent.

He says they're outstanding coaches who've lost only once in Europe, to France in that World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff, and just twice in New Zealand, to South Africa in Dunedin last year and to France there last month.

Henry says he's delighted to be re-appointed, while Smith says he loves coaching the team and Hansen says it's an exciting challenge and one he's humbled to be given again.