Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry talks candidly about life, love, depression and gay All Blacks to promote the NZ Blood Service campaign.
1 What did you think of the Bledisloe Cup match at Eden Park on Saturday night?
I was really impressed. The score probably wasn't a fair indication of the contest. The All Blacks played the game correctly and they took their opportunities. After the loss in Perth and draw with South Africa they were lacking a wee bit of self-belief for the first time in a long time, so they'll be pleased to have turned it around and be back on track for the World Cup - knowing full well that the RWC is going to be a massive contest.
2 Do you think the All Blacks will win this year's Rugby World Cup?
The All Blacks have probably got their noses in front but not like 2015 when they were stand out favourites. This time there's half a dozen teams who could win - Wales, England, Ireland, South Africa and Australia. But the All Blacks are very experienced; Steve Hansen the coach will be at his fourth RWC, captain Kieran Read his third and probably half the team have been there before which gives them an edge. World cups are different to normal matches - it's how you handle that pressure and reach your peak at the right time.
3 Are you going?
Of course! My wife Raewyn and I are leading a tour group for ten days which includes the semi-finals and final. I'm actually doing a bit of television work, standing on the side-line saying what a beautiful day, what a fantastic ground, the expectations of the game.
4 What has the toughest time been in your career and how did you come through it?
There's been a few. Getting beaten in the 2007 World Cup quarter final was a really challenging experience. It's important to work out pretty quickly what the road going forward is going to look like, so you don't dwell on it too much. Also asking; "What do we need to do to fix any problems?" Our problem was we weren't strong enough mentally to handle that situation of the quarter final. So we got expert advice and developed a mental skills programme for the All Blacks which made a massive difference. It's through adversity that you learn the most and develop strategies to handle it, both as a team and individually.
5 Have you ever been through a period of feeling really down?
Yes, when I resigned from Welsh rugby after coaching the British Lions. I hit the wall. Depression. It wasn't diagnosed but I realised that's what it was from talking to people I'm close to. The thing that helped most was getting out of that environment. I'd just taken too much on. I thought I was superman and I wasn't. It's humbling, but you learn from that. I did some coaching in Japan then came back and helped Auckland rugby. I also exercised a huge amount, did a lot of running, and I had great support from Raewyn.
6 What do you know about love?
I'm lucky that I've got a very good marriage. Raewyn and I are very close. She's my biggest supporter. We've been married 49 years. Next year's our 50th anniversary which is a pretty big milestone. She's a very resilient woman. One of the things you really need when you coach the All Blacks is support at home.
7 Why are you fronting this year's NZ Blood Service campaign?
I've donated blood for many years and always enjoyed the association. Helping others make you feel good. They remind you that every time you donate blood you have the potential to save three lives. There's no greater gift than that, is there? Only four percent of New Zealanders give blood so we're trying to build the world's biggest reserve bench of 100,000 donors. You don't have to donate tomorrow. You can just go on register to be called upon when needed.
8 How's your health?
Fabulous, thank you. Exercise is big for me. I either walk or go to the gym for an hour or so most mornings. You come away feeling a million dollars. When you feel good mentally, you connect better with people. I try to get the other things right like diet and sleep. Relaxing is important. I go fishing off a kayak near our place on Waiheke. I get into the garden. I believe I've got the best tomatoes in the world. We spend a lot of time with our three kids and five grandkids, so life's great.
9 You're 73 now. Have you retired?
I believe retirement's a dirty word. Age is a state of mind. You need to keep active. I'm an adviser for Auckland Rugby this year which means I pop down to training and say what I think about this or that. They're creating a fabulous environment and the boys love coming to work. They're very inclusive and treat everybody equally. I'm also involved in a number of charities. I speak a bit, I've got a successful little business which I'm proud of. I don't have a PA so I do most of the logistics myself.
10 As a former headmaster of Kelston Boys High School, what could we be doing better to educate our boys?
Kids are not as active as they used to be. I think primary schools should employ PE teachers. Teachers are often busy with their own families and haven't got the time. It wouldn't cost a lot and would save the country a lot in medical bills both in physical and mental health. I think secondary schools put too much emphasis on the top teams rather than getting as many kids as possible being active. You learn so much through sport, like enjoyment; good friends and how to handle adversity.
11 Will we have an openly gay All Black in our lifetimes?
I'm sure there will be at some stage. A guy I coached in Wales, Gareth Thomas, came out while playing international rugby. He was a key member of Wales and the Lions teams, highly respected. He was a different person once he become comfortable about his sexuality; a much more relaxed character and a much better rugby player. Ponsonby has a gay rugby team in one of the social competitions in Auckland. I spoke at their fundraising dinner a couple of years ago. They love their rugby and everyone in the club is very supportive.
12 Which New Zealander do you admire most?
I was lucky to be taught at Christchurch Boys High by John Graham, an All Black who went on to head at Auckland Grammar School. He understood leadership was developing people. He saw qualities in people and gave them opportunities to succeed. Many of his young teachers went on to become leaders in education. I miss him. He passed on a couple of years ago of a brain tumour. Everybody needs mentors and I was lucky enough to have him as one of mine.
• To sign up to donate blood, simply visit www.jointhebench.co.nz