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Henry urges All Blacks to 'smash' Wales

26/11/2010 02:22:05 PM Comments (0)

Graham Henry has put old loyalties aside to urge New Zealand to "smash" Wales on Saturday as the Tri-Nations champions bid to round off 2010 with another Grand Slam.

Victory at the Millennium Stadium would give the All Blacks a third clean sweep of the Home Nations in five years, and would see them end 2010 having lost just once in 14 games.

The sole blot on their record to date was Australia's last-gasp 26-24 win in Hong Kong in October.

It would also mean that New Zealand had beaten Wales 24 times in a row, with their last defeat by the Welsh coming way back in 1953.

On top of that, All Blacks five-eighth Dan Carter is on the verge of becoming Test rugby's leading points scorer. needing just three more to overhaul fellow No.10 Jonny Wilkinson's mark of 1,178 points for England and the British and Irish Lions.

There is no need for Henry to be given a lesson in the history between the two sides, having been Wales coach for 36 Tests between 1998-2002.

"I would like to see us smash the Welsh really, because I am coaching New Zealand now and it's the final game of the series and we want to make a statement," said the New Zealand coach.

Few would bet against the All Blacks doing exactly that following a November where Wales have been beaten by both Australia (25-16) and world champions South Africa (29-25) before last week's desperate 16-16 draw with Fiji.

But Henry was wary.

"They (Wales) are an excellent side on paper. Four of their front five played for the Lions in South Africa so they have a good foundation," Henry said.

"They will be disappointed at what happened against Fiji but it's part of the Welsh psyche.

"When they are expected to win, and win well, they don't. But they should have beaten South Africa, they just had a bad 10 minutes and they will play well on the weekend."

The 64-year-old Henry, in charge for his 100th Test win when New Zealand beat a much improved Ireland 38-18 last week, has made five changes.

Hooker Keven Mealamu returns from a two-week suspension while lock Brad Thorn is poised to win his 50th cap after missing the Ireland match with a hamstring strain.

Rugby league convert Sonny Bill Williams is back for his third start of the tour at centre while Isaia Toeava replaces fellow wing Cory Jane and Jimmy Cowan starts at halfback instead of Andy Ellis.

Wales coach - Henry's fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland - has made nine changes and two positional switches to the side that drew with Fiji, notably moving Ryan Jones to No.8 from blindside flanker and recalling wing Tom James.

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