The New Zealand squad has arrived in Johannesburg despite a terror alert focusing on Ellis Park.
As if things weren’t bad enough for the All Blacks after their rather chastening exercise in Sydney, they have had to contend with an Al Qaeda terrror alert in South Africa.
It was reported in the South African media that interrogation of Pakistani captives revealed that Ellis Park, where New Zealand play South Africa on Saturday, is one of seven sites under consideration for an attack.
Despite this, the New Zealand RFU, in consultation with the players and management, approved the squad travelling and they have landed in Johannesburg safely.
NZRU Chief Executive Chris Moller said today the decision to travel was not taken lightly.
We are satisfied, based on the information we currently have, that the recent media reports have not been substantiated by other intelligence or evidence, and the current risk level for travel to South Africa has not changed.
He said the NZRU and All Blacks management would actively monitor the security environment once in South Africa and assess any new information or potential security risks.
They travelled without captain Tana Umaga, who has gone home to be with his wife, due to have their third child.
The injury situation isn’t one to bring a smile to the lugubrious Henry either. Daniel Carter sprained his right ankle, though he is expected to be okay for the match. Sam Tuitupou, though, broke a rib as soon as he entered the field of play, making his subsequent performance one of considerable consequence. Doug Howlett is experiencing nerve-type pain in one of his shoulders.
Henry said after the match, according to allblacks.com, “I thought our guys were very committed. They tried very hard, had some dominance in the first 20, lost that dominance, gave away too many penalties…”
“We just didn’t do the business,” the straight-talking coach admitted. “I’m sure we’ll learn a lot from this particular game as we go forward. We had some opportunities, we put people into space but didn’t get players there, so we’re not completing those opportunities.”