Sir Graham Henry
Former Coach of the All Blacks, 2011 RWC Champions
Sir Graham Henry is one of most successful Rugby Union coaches of all time. Sir Graham has been awarded the Coach of the Year by the International Rugby Board a record 5 times, the last in 2011 after coaching the All Blacks to winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup. When Sir Graham retired as the All Black coach in 2011, he had coached 103 test, of which they won 88, for a winning percentage of 85.4%. A brilliant coach and communicator, Graham understands how to create and lead successful teams.
Sir Graham was a school teacher and principal in his early years and combined teaching and rugby coaching until 1996, when he took up full time rugby coaching.
Sir Graham first came to major prominence as coach of the highly successful Auckland team. They won four NPC titles in succession (1993 – 1996), then as the Auckland Blues Super 12 team, which was the competition winner in 1996 and 1997 and runner-up in 1998.
He made his international coaching debut in 1998 with Wales, where he stayed for four years. His major achievements in that role included wins over England and South Africa. In 2001, he became the first non-British or Irishman to coach the Lions on their tour of Australia.
On his return to New Zealand, Sir Graham joined Auckland as defensive coordinator and technical analyst. The effect was immediate with Auckland lifting the 2002 National Provincial Championship, a feat that resulted in the Blues, starved of success since Sir Graham left for Wales, quickly tying him up for the 2003 Super 12 – which the Blues went on to win.
Subsequently in 2004, Sir Graham was appointed the Coach of the New Zealand Rugby Union team. Sir Graham struck gold in his first Test as All Blacks coach beating the reigning Rugby World Champions England at Dunedin in June 2004. He went on to win his first six Test matches and keep the Bledisloe Cup in New Zealand’s trophy cabinet. In 2005 the All Blacks won 11 of their 12 Test matches. In June they were too strong for the British and Irish Lions winning the series three Tests to none. They were the Philips Tri Nations Champions and completed the Grand Slam tour of the UK and Ireland to finish the year at number one in the IRB World Rankings. Sir Graham picked up the Coach of the Year award at the IRB Awards in Paris and the All Blacks were named Team of the Year. When Sir Graham retired as NZ’s coach in 2011, he had the extraordinary winning ratio of 85% from 103 tests over 8 years, and the Rugby World Cup in the trophy cabinet.
Sir Graham was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2012 New Year Honours, for services to rugby.
2013 brought many new roles and responsibility to Graham in both the sporting and business arena. Graham has been appointed the technical advisor and defence coach for the Auckland Blues Rugby Team as well as the technical advisor for Argentina’s rugby team, the Pumas. Graham is also a shareholder in the successful coaching website www.therugbysite.com and is often featured on podcasts with coaching tips. Graham has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors for recruitment professionals, the VNM Group.
Sir Graham’s speaking topics include the high performance environment, team culture, motivation, team development and his own experiences. His presentations are readily applicable to the business environment, as well as the sporting arena.