Sir Graham Henry strongly endorses new Auckland waterfront stadium

Sir Graham Henry is the latest to throw his support behind the building of a new stadium on the Auckland waterfront.

Mayor Phil Goff recently announced that such a development was back on the cards, after commissioning a feasibility study on a new central city site costing up to $1 billion.

The legendary All Blacks coach said it should've been in place for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, when the Government decided to temporarily extend Eden Park instead.

"We made a mistake in 2011, we should have built that stadium then," Sir Graham told The AM Show.

Henry admitted he'd always have a special affinity with Eden Park, a place where he won countless games as coach of Auckland, the Blues, and the All Blacks, highlighted by the drought-breaking World Cup final win over France in 2011.

"In my heart, Eden Park's fabulous. I grew up there as a coach… but it's time to move on."

Its limitations have become increasingly apparent when weighed against the clear benefits of a stadium located within Auckland's CBD, said Henry.

"It has limited use, it's sitting in the middle of suburbia. People don’t like the noise and the after-match functions that go on.

"We need a covered stadium, we need it in the city. We need it next to the restaurants and the bars.

"Let's build it tomorrow."

Henry wasn't so quick to judge when it came to the struggling Blues.

The 71-year-old was at the helm last time the franchise won a Super Rugby title back in 2003 and he urged patience with coach Tana Umaga, as he looks to rebuild the team.

"They'll come again," Henry said, with his trademark grin. "Patience, my friends."

Henry had a more holistic view regarding the side's failings, adamant the blame shouldn't fall on his former All Black skipper's shoulders.

"I love the man. He was the captain when I first became coach.

"I think it's not about [Umaga]. I think it's about the whole of the Blues region - we're talking Auckland, North Harbour and Northland.

"Counties should be part of it - it's part of the Auckland region. That's ridiculous."

He was more bullish regarding the All Blacks' chances at the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year.

"They know they have to keep on improving. I heard Beauden Barrett on TV last night saying they had to lift their game, try some new things to overcome the rush defence.

"He's excited and if he's excited, they're all excited. I think it looks really good for the future."