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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Henry: Joe is world-class

Cullen given three 'bedrock' areas to improve Leinster

Graham Henry during Leinster’s open training session yesterday at Greystones RFC, Dr Hickey Park. Pic: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Graham Henry during Leinster’s open training session yesterday at Greystones RFC, Dr Hickey Park. Pic: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

World Cup winner Graham Henry rates Ireland's Joe Schmidt as "one of the best coaches in the world".

This is not to say Schmidt will be offered the most prized job in his home country any time soon.

"There is a law in New Zealand that to be an All Black coach you have to be coaching in New Zealand to go the next step.

"Like, Steve (Hansen) is going to coach until the next World Cup," said Henry.

"In recent times, they have appointed coaches from within to get that continuity, so Joe might need to be a wee bit patient.

"I think the older you are the better you will be. So there is no rush."

The recent evidence of two Six Nations Championships in the last three seasons and Ireland's first test win in South Africa mean the IRFU will wait with bated breath for Schmidt's decision whether to extend his contract here.

"I rate him exceptionally highly" said Henry.

"He has got to make those personal decisions about what he is going to do going forward."

More immediately, Henry's short consultancy work for Leinster in evaluating Leo Cullen's first season as head coach has identified three "bedrock" areas in need of attention.

"There is just the ability to run straight lines, punch pass across the body, fix defenders," he said.

"That, for example, will make a huge difference. And for everybody on the team to do that.

"Creating the opportunity and not seeing the opportunity that they have created (is another).

"You want them to see that opportunity, communicate it and take advantage of it.

"Perhaps, the third big one is the ability to communicate from the inside-out on opportunity.

"Like, Johnny Sexton is probably going to be the playmaker in the big games.

"It is just the ability of fourteen, eleven and even thirteen to pass on information whether it should be hands or a kick-pass wide or whatever it may be.

"I'm sure some of that is happening, but is it happening all the time?"

It wont be too long before the general public start to find out.

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