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Henry: Slade is our man

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Sportal.co.nz     03 Oct 2011     Getty Images

With a groin tear ruling Dan Carter out for the remainder of the tournament, Slade, Piri Weepu and Carter's replacement Aaron Cruden are the men tasked will filling the yawning gap left in the star's absence.

Slade played the first 51 minutes of the match against the Canucks at fly-half before Weepu came on and he shifted to a wing until he was substituted in the 65th minute.

The Crusaders man had a shaky start when he had a kick charged down by DTH van der Merwe and his goal-kicking was a mixed bag (five from nine) but Henry was happy with the way he ran the game, particularly given the limited game time he has had.

"Going forward Colin Slade is the boy," said Henry. "He played pretty well for a long part of the game today."

"He just needs more football. The more times we can get him out there the better he is going to be."

"Piri can play there as well and he also played better the more time he was in the No.10 position."

"He played very well the last 10 minutes of the game when they started to respect the weather conditions and started to put the ball in behind the opposition ad play with a bit of balance."

"It was good to see both guys who played 10 today handle that position pretty well."

The All Blacks scored a dozen tries. Four of those were bagged by Zac Guildford whose work-rate and finishing has upped the ante on Cory Jane and Richard Kahui ahead of the quarter-final showdown with Argentina next weekend.

"He played particularly well which was very pleasing because he's had a couple of challenges," said Henry, referring to Guildford's admission to having a problem with alcohol.

"He has been outstanding in the group. The guys that we don't pick in the 22 we call the standard setters. He's set very good standards over the last four weeks. He's trained particularly hard and well and I think that was reflected in the way he played tonight."

"He's put his hand up. He's a selection candidate for next week."

Israel Dagg also put in another strong performance, this time on the right wing. But he limped off in the 48th minute and Henry confirmed he had taken another knock to the thigh he hurt last week.

"He's a bit ginger. But the Doc (Deb Robinson) tells me he will fine next week if he's needed," added the coach.

Aside from running in 12 tries, another good feature of the All Blacks play was the scrum, which has been under scrutiny from the referees in recent weeks.

They totally dominated the Canadians, winning four on the opposition put in, and that dominance led directly to two tries for Jerome Kaino.

"We've had a little bit of trouble giving penalties away," said hooker Andrew Hore, who was named captain when Richie McCaw, then Carter, were ruled out.

"So we went out there with a plan of how we were going to do it. We're pretty pleased to turnover a bit of their ball and get a couple of tries off our scrum so it went pretty well."

"But the Argentinean boys are definitely going to be a step up."