10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
His first approach to the NZRU Board has been knocked back but Henry will be given another hearing on his return from Europe where he is meeting with his UK based co-coaches Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen.
The NZRU Board ruled that to be eligible for All Black selection a player must have participated in the previous season's NPC or Super 12 . Players like former England-based All Blacks Andrew Blowers and Bruce Reihana are believed to be on Henry's wish list, according to New Zealand's Sunday Star Times newspaper.
At the grass roots level of the game the New Zealand Rugby Union has committed one million dollars to counter the drop off in youth participation. The lessening in interest among school children has been blamed in part on the declining numbers of male teachers with a rugby interest. Regional development officers will work with school teachers seeking to regain ground.
The All Blacks have a four match June/July schedule that includes two Tests against England followed by the Tri-Nations in July/August and then an end of season northern hemisphere tour.
That tour includes a November 20th Test against Wales in Cardiff followed a week later by a game against the French in Paris.
The NZRU are believed to be negotiating for two more matches during that trip. The opponents and dates for those two matches are yet to be confirmed.
All Blacks 2004 schedule.
June 12: All Blacks v England, Dunedin. June 19: All Blacks v England, Auckland. June 26: All Blacks v Argentina, Hamilton. July 10: All Blacks v Pacific Islanders, Albany.
Tri-Nations July 17: All Blacks v Australia, Wellington. July 24: All Blacks v South Africa, Christchurch. August 7: Australia v All Blacks, Sydney. August 14: South Africa v All Blacks, Johannesburg.
All Blacks end-of-year tour November 20: Wales v All Blacks, Cardiff November 27: France v All Blacks, Paris.