Graham Henry was in his 100th match as the coach of New Zealand against Canada, where he demonstrated why the All Blacks still had him as in charge. Although, the household name of Dan Carter was missing from the squad list after the player succumbed to a torn groin muscle ruling him out of the tournament, Henry replaced him with new fly half, Colin Slade and Piri Weepu.
New Zealand subjugated the Canadians throughout the match, making the transition between Carter and Slade seem seamless. Slade played for a total of 51 minutes, being replaced by Weepu later who played till the game ended with the scoreboard reading 79-15 in favor of New Zealand.
After the match Henry praised both, Slade and Weepu for their lustrous performance. He extolled that both were a pleasure to watch throughout the match however for now Slade had his nose in front for the next match
“Colin Slade's the boy,” said Henry. “He just needs more football. We see Colin as the guy to play and we're just going to have to take him and see how he's performing out there and get him through.”
Zac Guildford was another player who was impressive in his first match in the Rugby World Cup 2011. He scored 4 of the 12 tries New Zealand had in the game. Henry sang praise for him saying, “He played well which was particularly pleasing. He set very good standards over the last four weeks.” Henry also stated that Guildford might feature in quarter-final with Argentina, “He is a natural candidate for next week.”
Prior to the match Henry had planned to curb scrum collapses which worked beautifully against Canada. New Zealand had zero scrum collapses and the ball barely went back. On the other side of field Canada lost 4 of their scrums and conceded a pushover try.
Ironically, it was Canada that led the match for the first 6 minutes after Slade’s clearing kick was charged down, nonetheless the fly half made retribution by setting Guildford for the first of his tries. Canadian defense was dismantled by halftime when the scoreboard read 37-8 in favor of New Zealand.
For Canada, Conor Trainor had a try within three minutes of each to half which brought the score up slightly but his lonesome efforts brought little consolation. After the rain hit the 2nd half playing was made more difficult for Canada, and for New Zealand too.
New Zealand made more handling errors in the match than Canada, most of which were recorded after the rain. The match ended with the scoreboard showing a one sided story of 79-15, and New Zealand with an uncharacteristic 14 handling errors in comparison to Canada’s 10.