With New Zealand teams struggling for form in the Super 12, All Blacks coach Graham Henry is desperate to bolster his options in key positions, looking to use overseas players in the June trial
With New Zealand teams struggling for form in the Super 12, All Blacks coach Graham Henry is desperate to bolster his options in key positions. Henry is pushing to be allowed to fast-track New Zealanders playing overseas into his squad for the All Black trial at the beginning of June.
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
during that trip. The opponents and dates
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.
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.