Henry: Exciting Wales can overwhelm depleted England
1 February 2005 08:17am
New Zealand coach Graham Henry believes Wales' 'exciting brand of rugby' could be enough for them to gain a victory over England in their opening RBS 6 Nations match in Cardiff on Saturday.
And Henry, who was in charge of Wales for their record-equalling run of 10 successive victories in 1999, has urged current Welsh coach Mike Ruddock to continue giving his young side a licence to thrill.
''The Welsh are not a bad team,'' Henry told the Western Mail.
''They play an exciting brand of rugby and may it continue for ages.
''They have got England first. England are still team-building, and they haven't got Martin Johnson any more.
But despite England's desperate injury situation, Henry refused to write-off their prospects of winning yet another Cardiff clash.
''I wouldn't discount England; they have got some great footballers,'' Henry said.
''There is also their sheer weight of playing numbers and quality people across the board in their club sides. They have the personnel to overcome losses.''
Henry believes the key to next Saturday's Millennium Stadium clash is how England react to their many injury problems.
''It's just whether 'Robbo' and company can pull it together straight away,'' said Henry.
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.