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Henry wins international fair play award

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has won a prestigious international fair play award for his conduct following the All Blacks shock rugby World Cup 18-20 quarterfinal loss to France last year.

The International Committee for Fair Play (CIFP) listed Henry as one of just four trophy winners from 23 awards made for 2007. The CIFP is an international non-governmental organisation recognised by the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee.

Henry is the second New Zealander to be honoured by the CIFP by receiving the Pierre de Coubertin trophy.

Former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga received the same award in 2004 for his sportsmanship during a rugby test in Hamilton the previous year when he stopped playing to check on Welsh player Colin Charvis, who had been knocked unconscious in a tackle and was in danger of swallowing his tongue.

Henry has won the award for his actions after the quarterfinal when he went straight to the French dressing room to congratulate the winners.
He did not publicly criticise the performance of match English referee Wayne Barnes.

CIFP general secretary Jean Durry said Henry had behaved "with great dignity and an exemplary sense of fair play" after the narrow defeat, the RugbyHeaven website said.

"For a rugby country such as New Zealand, one can only imagine how painful this defeat must have been."

Durry said Henry's "very simple gesture" served as an excellent example to other sports.

"In the context of today's professional sport, Henry's dignity in defeat was a magnificent example of sportsmanship."

Henry said the award was a huge honour for himself and New Zealand rugby.

"It was by no means an easy thing to do after losing to France, because it killed four years of a dream. But we just had to take it on the chin and act with some dignity."

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