All Blacks World Cup winner to mentor struggling NRL side

by AFP

World Cup-winning former All Blacks coach Graham Henry is taking his talents to rugby league, announcing Tuesday he has teamed up with the struggling Warriors in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL).

Henry, who guided the All Blacks to victory in the 2011 World Cup, will be with the Warriors for the next month working with coach Andrew McFadden, the New Zealand-based club said.

"I've got a lot of time for him as a coach and I also really enjoy his company," Henry said.

"We've had some healthy discussions about coaching previously and I'm thrilled to have the chance to be able to work with him, to observe the organisation and to provide some feedback."

The Warriors have had a chequered history in the NRL and this season lie 10th of 16 teams with four wins from nine matches.

Six players were recently dropped for breaching team protocols, amid allegations five of them drank a mixture of prescription drugs and energy drinks on a night out after a 42-0 hiding by the Melbourne Storm.

The cocktail reportedly achieves an amphetamine-like high without breaching doping rules.

Three of the players, with international pedigree, were subsequently left out of the New Zealand team beaten 16-0 by Australia last Friday.

McFadden said he had considered a number of options before calling on Henry, who has also coached Wales and the British and Irish Lions.

"In the end we were really fortunate to be able to secure (Henry's) services," McFadden said.

"It's a real privilege to have him involved and I know it's going to be hugely beneficial not only for me personally but for the squad as a whole."

Andrew McFadden has sought out multiple All Blacks legends to help at the Warriors. Photo: Getty ImagesIt was the first of two overtures to All Blacks legends, with New Zealand Football also calling on Wayne Smith and John Kirwan to help the All Whites prepare for this month's Oceania Nations Cup in Papua New Guinea.

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson said the appearance of Kirwan and Smith at a New Zealand team training camp on Tuesday had a significant impact on his players.

Kirwan and Smith have won three Rugby World Cups between them as a player and assistant coach respectively, and White said he hoped they could help further develop the All Whites' team culture.

"There are some common traits of what it means to be a Kiwi, like the never-say-die attitude, work ethic and pride, and we don't want to go away from that," he said.

"I'm just trying to gain from their experience because it's two men who really understand what it means to represent New Zealand. That has to be at the heart of what we do."