There was no pressure for Prime Minister John Key to entertain a Queenstown conference, according to Sir Graham Henry.
The pair flew from Auckland this morning to address more than 500 delegates at the annual Local Government New Zealand Conference at the Millennium Hotel.
“Sir Graham Henry said to me ‘don’t worry if you’re crap, because I’ll be really good’,” Key said in his opening speech.
Key hit back at Henry jokingly saying ‘we beat the Irish 60-nil – he was obviously a crap coach’.
Henry spoke about the All Blacks’ journey to victory last September at the Rugby World Cup, which didn’t fail to entertain the crowd.
“With the greatest respect to the Prime Minister, you were a lot more entertaining,” Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule said to Henry.
Henry said it was all about handling difficult times during the Rugby World Cup especially when Dan Carter and Colin Slade succumbed to injury.
Steven Donald – or Beaver as Henry calls him – was given the call up to join the team.
“I know what’s going through your mind, you thought he was bloody useless,” Henry said.
Donald was on the Waikato River white-baiting when Henry gave him the call up to tell him the good news.
“‘What are you doing Beaver?’”
Donald: “‘I’m white baiting Ted, I’ve got four kilos’.” Henry said.
Henry: “‘That’s significant, if you bring that 4 kilos to room 425 at the Heritage Hotel you’ll be in the All Blacks.’”
Henry joked All Black selection is “very political”.
“There are all sorts of criteria for selection.”
Thirty three minutes into the final against France Aaron Cruden injured and Donald was thrown onto the field and ended up kicking the winning penalty.
With all the planning around the team, one attendee asked, how did you get Beaver’s jersey so wrong?
“Too much white bait I think,” Henry replied.