SIR GRAHAM HENRY delivered a vivid summary of how debutant players will be feeling ahead of the Rugby World Cup – telling a live TV broadcast they will be “s***ing themselves”.
The frank admission came before New Zealand began their trophy defence against South Africa in Yokohama.
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A full 12 of the 23 players in the All Blacks squad were yet to feature at a World Cup before kick-off.
And the coach of New Zealand’s victorious side of 2011 was quizzed on Spark Sport about how they could calm their nerves.
The 73-year-old bluntly replied: “Well I don’t think you can tell them anything really.
“They’ll be s***ing themselves, quite frankly.”
In the game itself, the All Blacks laid down a marker with a 23-13 beating of South Africa.
George Bridge and Scott Barrett ran in first-half tries before the favourites held off a spirited comeback attempt from the Springboks.
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Sir Graham knows what it takes to succeed at a World Cup but his surprise loss to France in the 2007 quarter-finals remains New Zealand’s last defeat at a tournament.
Wales fans also remember the Kiwi for an 11-game wining streak when in charge at the turn of the century.
Next up for the All Blacks is a match-up with Canada on Wednesday, October 2 – when hopefully their less experienced players will be slightly more ready than Henry had them down as today.