Fri, Nov 16, 2007 - Page 22 News List

Henry told to reapply for All Blacks job

AFP , WELLINGTON

New Zealand coach Graham Henry walks onto the pitch before the Rugby World Cup quarter-final match against France at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Oct. 6.

PHOTO: AP

Indianapolis Colts star defensive end Dwight Freeney will miss the rest of the NFL season after being placed on injured reserve with a foot injury on Wednesday.

Freeney, the three-time Pro Bowler, is the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. He injured his left foot in Sunday's 23-21 loss to San Diego and was scheduled to undergo surgery later this week or early next week.

The blow is potentially devastating to Indianapolis, which has already been depleted by injuries. Seven starters missed Sunday's game, and Indianapolis lost four more starters, including Freeney, during the game.

"Dwight is a player you cannot replace," former Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders said. "But we'll continue to move on, continue to get better. We'll put new guys in and continue to roll. That's what Dwight would want us to do."

The Colts (7-2) don't have a choice.

Graham Henry's future as All Blacks coach was on the line yesterday when the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said he would have to reapply for his job following the failed World Cup campaign.

The move to put the coaching position up for grabs could pit Henry against the most successful coach in the Super 14 series, Robbie Deans.

The NZRU made its decision after a day-long review of the coaching and management team in France, where the All Blacks crashed out in the quarter-finals, their worst ever performance at a World Cup.

"There is no doubt that all involved in New Zealand rugby are disappointed with the outcome of Rugby World Cup 2007," said NZRU board member and rugby committee chairman Mike Eagle, who made the announcement.

"That said, we also want to recognize and acknowledge the significant achievements of this coaching panel and the team -- on and off the field -- over the last four years," he said.

Eagle said applications to be All Blacks coach would close on Nov. 26 and it was hoped to have the appointment made by Christmas.

Henry said he and his assistant coaches Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith now wanted to think about their futures and had not decided if they would reapply.

"We all want what is best for New Zealand rugby and understand the board's decision to ask for applications," he said. "All three of us will take time to think about the next steps and we'll have a decision to make on the 26th."

During his four-year reign, the All Blacks won an impressive 42 of 48 Tests including a rare Grand Slam against the four Home Unions, a 3-0 whitewash of the British and Irish Lions and winning the Tri-Nations title three times.

But after losing to France 18-20 in the World Cup quarter-finals, Henry said: "We'll be scarred for the rest of our lives after this particular 2007 Rugby World Cup."

Despite the shock World Cup performance, there has been strong public support for Henry, although Deans has long been considered a front-runner to take over.

Deans has taken the Canterbury Crusaders to four Super 14 titles since 2000.

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