It's less talk, more music for All Blacks

(Rugby News Service) Friday 21 October 2011
It's less talk, more music for All Blacks
Piri Weepu and his well-worked headphones

AUCKLAND, 21 Oct. – The Rugby World Cup Final may well be the biggest moment in New Zealand head coach Graham Henry’s career.

But the man known as ‘Ted’ won’t be found in the All Blacks dressing room on match day offering a last word of inspiration or encouragement to the men he is sending out on the field at Eden Park.

"I don't talk,” he told a press conference on Friday. “Seriously. Sunday night before they run out on to the field is their time. It has to be their time.

“They've got to get their own minds right and settled and on the job and people talking to them at that time is an absolute waste of time. In fact it's a distraction. Words will be said today and words will be said tomorrow. But I personally don't believe it's the right time to talk to teams just before they play."

While some teams may use the time before kick-off to go over the game plan one last time, or have one last motivational speech, the pre-match mantra for the All Blacks is that less is more.

“Ted doesn’t do a lot of talking,” scrum half Piri Weepu said. “It’s basically our game leaders, the boys on the field who are leading the team around and Richie, if the boys have something to share with the team.

Winning song

“We don’t really do a lot. It’s just pretty much we do our talking with what we do on the field.”

Weepu’s game day preparation will involve hanging his jersey up in the dressing room where he can see it before slipping his oversized headphones on.

"We made it" by Busta Rhymes is one of Weepu's favourite tracks. Its lyrics include: "Together we've made it. We made it even though we had our backs up against the wall", which makes it a song particularly fitting for what lies ahead on Sunday.

“It’s just a song that plays in my head because I know without my team I wouldn’t be here and I’m pretty sure they feel the same way.”

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