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Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
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# Showpiece
ABs to spin some tunes as 'hurt' unifies under-fire France
American rapper Busta Rhymes will play an unlikely role in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup final…

NEW ZEALAND COACH Graham Henry isn’t much of a talker, apparently.

Instead, the man who has guided the All Blacks into a Rugby World Cup final on home turf will allow the players themselves and some of the world’s best lyric writers to have their say ahead of Sunday’s showpiece against France.

“Sunday night before they run out on to the field is their time. It has to be their time,” Henry revealed to reporters on Friday.

“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.”

Scrum-half Piri Weepu, who will be crucial to New Zealand’s hopes on the night, takes inspiration from Busta Rhymes song “We made it”. He explained:

“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.”

He added: “Ted (Henry) doesn’t do a lot of talking. It’s just pretty much we do our talking with what we do on the field.”

Their opponents, meanwhile, have been keeping themselves “in a cocoon” this week with fly-half Morgan Parra telling a press conference that his team-mates have been “hurt” by ongoing criticism of their performances.

“We play on the pitch and we try to give the best possible image of French rugby,” he said.

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“When we read the criticism in the press, we don’t want to read it, but criticism from our supporters saying we do not deserve to be here or certain English or Welsh players saying the same thing, that hurts. But it brings us together.”

Reacting to comments last weekend from his coach Marc Lievremont, who last weekend labelled some of his players ‘spoilt brats’, Parra felt that some of his colleagues “needed to go out” before insisting that the incident was now behind the squad.

“The whole group did not go out. I am not sure why he called us all ‘spoiled brats’ but we have spoken about it, and that is the end of it.”

READ – New Zealand name unchanged line-up, as Henry seeks ‘internal peace’

READ – ‘France are the worst team ever to reach the final’

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