Rugby: Crowley named as Canada coach

Former All Black Kieran Crowley has been appointed coach of Canada, beginning his new job next month, Rugby Canada's website said today.

Crowley, who was 35 capped times for New Zealand, said he was excited about taking the 15th-ranked Canadian side through to the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

"Hopefully we'll have a successful time and develop things along the way. We're really looking forward to it," he said.

Rugby Canada director David Robertson said he didn't think the selection process, which began in January, would find a candidate of Crowley's stature.

"To be honest we weren't sure because we could see what was happening around the world," Robertson said.

"Warren Gatland going to Wales...Nick Mallet going to Italy, Jake White on the market as it were.

"We wondered what level we would attract from overseas knowing that we had some good domestic candidates."

Crowley comes off a nine-year stint with Taranaki, where he was both assistant coach and head coach. He also guided the New Zealand under-19 side to an IRB World Championship in 2007 in Dublin.

Crowley said he watched Canada's performance during the 2007 World Cup and felt it was a team on the move.

"My impression of them at the moment is that they are a very physical team and they have very good set piece plays," he said. "There is still work to be done in those areas, but they have done well.

"The area that possibly needs improvement, I think, is the vision or the ability to change things when things are not as structured as they should be.

"I think that is a legacy of the fact that (Canadian) players don't start playing until a little bit older than they do in New Zealand and it is just the rugby mentality I suppose."

Crowley said he didn't think the skill base in Canadian rugby was a "huge problem".

"There are a lot of skills there. We just need to combine that into the actual playing of the game and bringing the rugby psyche as far as playing the games and that sort of thing into being."

- NZPA


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