A back injury and form issues prevented Jimmy Cowan from playing a greater role in the All Blacks' successful World Cup campaign last year, former coach Graham Henry said.
"It was form really; the other guys were playing better at the time. I think he was carrying an injury so he was limited in what he could do physically, and quite often players, when they get into that finals situation, just want to play so they don't dwell on things that are causing them to not play as well as they should," he said.
"In his case, he certainly was favouring an injury which was affecting his form."
Henry said Cowan had been suffering from a lower back and hamstring problem during the World Cup campaign.
"His agility was limited, his ability to bend quickly, those sorts of things were limited and that was a hell of a disappointment to him," Henry said.
Despite being the All Blacks' leading halfback during the extended buildup to the World Cup, Cowan saw his stocks decline during the tournament as a goal-kicking Piri Weepu and Canterbury's Andy Ellis overtook him.
Cowan did bring up his 50th test for the All Blacks during the World Cup, and remained an important member of the squad, Henry said.
"He was an extremely popular guy in the All Blacks; probably if the All Blacks had to vote on the ultimate team man I think he would probably get the prize."
Cowan's All Black tenure effectively ended with the announcement earlier this year that he had signed on with English premiership side Gloucester, although he will play a part in Southland's NPC campaign this season.
Meanwhile, Henry continues to be busy post the World Cup, with mentoring roles, including an interesting job with Argentina ahead of this year's inaugural Rugby Championship.
Henry is also heavily involved in a tour promoting his controversial biography, Final Word.
His views on Wayne Barnes' refereeing during the 2007 World Cup quarterfinal against France, and the drinking culture he found within the All Blacks have provided plenty of fodder for talkback, but Henry remains unapologetic.
"You don't write the book to create controversy or discussion, you just write the truth," he said.
"It's black and white and factual; if people react, they react. If you are going to fuzz the facts you might as well not do it. It's an honest, straightforward account of what I felt at the time."
Henry will be in Invercargill on August 28 as part of a tribute tour organised by Duco Events.
The gala dinner at the Ascot Park Hotel will feature guest speakers Sir Bob Jones, Sir John Kirwan and Sir Peter Leitch and will also raise funds for the Kidney Kids charity.