‘Loss may help All Blacks’

World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry says that a loss may help the All Blacks in their bid to defend their title at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

We're exactly a year out from the World Cup and, as things stand, the All Blacks are comfortable favourites to retain their crown in England next year. Without a loss in their last 21 Tests, the All Blacks stand tall as the No 1-ranked side in the world at present. They currently enjoy a comfortable gap between themselves and the second-placed Springboks in the IRB world rankings.

Drawn in Pool C for the 2015 tournament with the likes of Argentina, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia, New Zealand's path to the quarter-finals seems an easy one. Henry, who was also in charge for the failed 2007 campaign, has said that a defeat before the World Cup gets underway could benefit the All Blacks and galvanise the team.

'A little bit of adversity might be helpful,' Henry told Television New Zealand on Wednesday.

'It might not be pleasant, but it could be helpful. You learn a lot from adversity.

'It's very similar to 2007. I don't want to frighten people. Very soft initial games at the Rugby World Cup don't help, so it's going to be a major challenge again.

'Australia, Wales, England and Fiji all in the same pool as well, the two teams that get through that are going to be ready aren't they.'

The All Blacks lost just twice in 27 matches in the buildup to the 2007 World Cup in France. After cruising through a group which included Scotland, Italy, Romania and Portugal, the All Blacks succumbed to a shock 20-18 defeat to the hosts in the quarter-final.

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