Sir Graham Henry Speaks Out About The Brian O’Driscoll Spear Tackle

Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry says the negative media from the infamous Brian O’Driscoll tackle helped galvanise the All Blacks.

The horrific incident was shot back into the public eye yesterday with Kevin Mealamu speaking out about it for the first time. Mealamu said he still feels “a little bit stink” about the way things played out, but was adamant he and Tana Umaga never set out to injure O’Driscoll.

Mealamu says he wasn’t even aware Umaga was on the other side of O’Driscoll when he went to drive him out of the ruck. Sir Graham Henry coached the Lions against Australia in 2001, before facing them as New Zealand coach for that 2005 tour. He also claims the tackle was “totally accidental, and simply one of those things” that happens in a game.

“Everybody was sad about (what happened) but those things are outside of your control. You’ve just got to move on and concentrate on the next game.” Henry told Fairfax Media.
“The guys had respect for Brian and they didn’t want that to happen. I think they handled it pretty well.”

As the tackle on O’Driscoll became a focal point of the 2005 tour, Henry said that it possibly worked to the All Blacks advantage as they concentrated on the games ahead.

“Certainly there was a huge amount of interest in the O’Driscoll injury and what happened around that,” he said.
“We had to help the guys who were involved in that, move on and concentrate on playing good football in the second Test. Maybe that was part of our motivation.
“There was so much negative business going on from the British media it probably galvanised us … or helped us to galvanise anyway.”

What do you think? Was the O’Driscoll speak tackle and accident or intentional?

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Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor at RugbyLAD. Any queries big or small you can reach him at [email protected]

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