Phipps says Henry comments 'hard to ignore'

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps says Graham Henry’s comments that this Wallabies crop is the worst ever, fired up the side ahead of their win over Argentina.

While Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said after the game that he wasn’t aware of Henry’s jibe, Phipps said on FOX SPORTS’ Rugby 360 the players knew of his criticism and used it as motivation.

“It’s hard for us to ignore,” he said.

“You hear that from a World Cup winning coach and you hear that through the various channels.

“We knew about it, the players were unhappy about it.”

Cheika said Henry was irrelevant to his team and Phipps said they were heartened to see him back the squad.

“[It was] More motivation for us and Cheik sitting there crossed arms, he’s a protective man, he protects his team,” he said.

“It’s good to see Cheik sticking up for us there and you can just see how passionate he is that no-one has a crack at the team like that.”

Richie McCaw and Graham Henry after the 2011 World Cup win. Photo: Getty ImagesCapped Wallaby and Force prop Ben Daley said it was obvious that it had aggravated the Wallabies.

“As a sportsman...if someone’s trying to write you off, you go, ‘Well, stuff you I’m going to prove you wrong.’,” he said.

“I think the Wallabies took that into the game. You saw with the sting of the defence they were on a mission.”

Former Wallaby Rod Kafer said the Henry incident was the latest example of a New Zaland hubris that has permeated throughout the Kiwi rugby community of late.

“There’s been a series of events throughout New Zealand rugby in the past 12 months. It started when Richie McCaw didn’t thank the Wallabies in the World Cup final last year, Dane Coles didn’t thank the Lions when they played in the Super Rugby final.

“We’ve seen the off-field incidents of the Chiefs and the things that have been occurring around the All Blacks camp - the eye-gouging incident, for everyone around the world there was a case to answer… Steve Hansen dismissed it.

“Why does he [Henry] have to make a comment like that and have a dig at the Wallabies, why?

“And to me that again it just continues all of these little chips into that very humble team that was the All Blacks and I think they are losing their way.”

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