Impressed All Blacks coach Graham Henry reckons Wallabies counterpart Robbie Deans will be a relieved man after his team’s last-gasp victory over the Springboks.
Henry is plotting for his unbeaten team to complete a rare clean sweep of the Tri Nations series in Saturday’s finale against Australia in Sydney.
But he was full of praise for the Wallabies attacking zeal in their historic 41-39 victory in Bloemfontein after his team lobbed in Sydney on Sunday.
He understood well how Deans, his countryman and former rival for the All Blacks coaching job, would be feeling as the win helped silence critics after a lean trot.
Henry experienced similar when his team lost all three of their Tri Nations Tests against South Africa last year.
“I think he (Deans) will be pretty relieved really,” said Henry.
“We’ve all been down there, it’s the nature of the job really. You get under pressure at times and it’s great to relieve that pressure every now and again.”
The young Wallabies backline clicked again in Bloemfontein as Australia notched back to back four-try bonus points in the Tri Nations series for the first time since 1997.
Henry played down the issues Australia seem to have with leaking points in defence, having let the Boks come back from big deficits to take the lead in both of their last two Tests.
“It was a good game to watch I enjoyed it actually and they played particularly well,” Henry said.
“I think their ability to have a crack, the backs played well, combined well together, stretched the South Africans many times and scored some great tries.
“They did (leak points) but they won at altitude and it’s the first time for a million years so they’d be very happy about that.”
Despite New Zealand’s long-standing dominance of their trans-Tasman rivals, Henry doesn’t believe confidence will be an issue for the Wallabies on Saturday following their win.
“They’ve got very skilled footballers, always have done,” said henry.
“The South Africans gave them the opportunity to express that last night and they expressed themselves exceptionally well.”
South Africa sent plenty of traffic at Wallabies five-eighth Quade Cooper, but Henry said the end result proved that didn’t work and the All Blacks will adopt a more diverse approach.
“I think if you concentrate on one area I think you’ll find that’s a negative and I think at the end of the day the Boks’ found that a negative,” he said.
“I thought Cooper defended pretty well … You’ve got to have some variety in your attack and play the game with a bit of width which we’re trying to do and not concentrate on any particular individual.”