2011 World Cup-winning head coach Sir Graham Henry believes that New Zealand Rugby "c**ked up" by not appointing Wallabies coach Dave Rennie as Steve Hansen's successor.
Hansen assisted Henry during the 2011 World Cup before leading the side in two tournaments before stepping down as the All Blacks' boss after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. New All Blacks head coach Ian Foster led the side in his first test last week against Australia with his first game in charge ending in a stalemate.
Foster, like Hansen, was the long time assistant of the All Blacks before taking over as the head coach but Sir Graham Henry believes New Zealand Rugby made a mistake by appointing Foster and should have instead appointed the man who got the Wallabies job.
The World Cup-winning All Blacks coach was speaking at the Wairarapa Bush Rugby Sports Award function as a special guest when he was asked whether Foster - Hansen's long-term assistant - was up for the job.
— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) October 16, 2020
Henry acknowledged that it was "too early" to make the call, the highly respected coach said New Zealand Rugby had missed a trick by failing to keep in contact with Dave Rennie.
"Dave Rennie is a fabulous coach, no doubt. New Zealand Rugby c**ked that up. They should have been connecting with Dave and (Japan coach) Jamie Joseph and other people around the world to keep them involved in New Zealand Rugby. (But they) didn't contact Dave Rennie for three years, and Dave Rennie is fabulous, so he's going to do a great job with Australia. Whether they've got the personnel to be up there for the World Cup, I think they probably will with Dave Rennie.
"The All Blacks hadn't played for a long time and they looked like it too. They were off the pace, but I think at Eden Park they'll be chomping at the bit and I think they'll do the job. And I hope for 'Fozzie's' sake that happens, circumstantial with the virus and not being able to play and all those bits and pieces. I've avoided the question."
'New Zealand Rugby c**ked that up': Sir Graham Henry says Wallabies coach Dave Rennie should be All Blacks coach ahead of #BledisloeCup— Christy Doran (@ChristypDoran) October 16, 2020
Extraordinary comments, particularly given Henry was on panel to select Ian Foster as All Blacks coachhttps://t.co/PGbBHgxjxQ
Asked to choose between Rennie and Foster, Henry said he would pick the Wallabies coach as his man.
"Well there you go, aye," Henry quipped.
"I talked in the media about this before and (was) asked who should coach the All Blacks and I was very vocal about Rennie.
"But Dave Rennie went to Glasgow and went and coached there after winning two Super titles with the Chiefs.
"I think he's got it all and no disrespect to Fozzie, no disrespect, and New Zealand Rugby - this is some time ago, not recently - were meant to keep in contact with players and coaches who had a big influence with professional rugby in this country and went overseas and they didn't do that. If they had done that with Dave Rennie he would have applied for the All Black job.
"I think we stuffed up quite frankly because he is a quality person and a quality coach and you've seen it straight away with the Wallabies. They will play for him, and that's no disrespect to Fozzie, that's just circumstantial, so I've answered the question."