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Canada has broken new ground regardless of any playing achievements at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. In a tournament first, the team that faces the All Blacks in Pool B action at Oita Stadium on Wednesday has a female manager. And although the Canadian team will be hoping their onfield form will inspire budding players in the developing rugby nation, Alana Gattinger, 30, hopes her role will also be a big win for girls and young women wanting to follow their footy dreams. "I'm lucky that I work in Canada and live in a country where opportunities like this exist for women in sport," Gattinger said in an article on Rugby Canada's website. "It's a testament to our union and our country. I am not treated any differently, and that's exactly what I want. I hope this serves as an inspiration to your girls that anything is possible." A Facebook post from Rugby Canada in the lead-up to the tournament stated: "She's the first but she definitely won't be the last, Canada's Alana Gattinger will be the first female team manager at a Rugby World Cup ever this year in Japan." On the eve of the Cup kick-off, tournament bosses also celebrated her. RWC 2019 team services director Enda Connolly said Gattinger "epitomises" what a great team manager should be, and also said she was a win for gender equality. "We are delighted that she is blazing a leadership trail for women in rugby and look forward to working with her and the Canada team at Rugby World Cup 2019." And team coach Kingsley Jones – the son of former Tonga coach and Jonah Lomu's ex-manager Phil Kingsley Jones – has spoken of how she was "one of the hardest working and most diligent people I have met". "She has great rapport and respect from the whole group," Kingsley Jones told Rugby Canada. Gattinger started with Rugby Canada as an intern in 2012 and took on the role of manager in 2017. Four years ago she travelled to the World Cup as a member of the side's off-field logistics team. "Being there with the team in 2015 lit a fire in me," she said. "I decided then and there that I loved touring with the team manager and working in this role, and I set a goal for myself that I was going to be the team manager at a Rugby World Cup." The All Blacks have never had a female team manager, but New Zealand Rugby has also made significant strides off the field with women breaking through into previously male-dominated territory. Former Black Ferns captain Farah Palmer has been on the board of New Zealand Rugby since 2016 and two provincial unions have female chief executives - Ngāti East Coast Rugby Union's (Cushla Tangaere-Manuel) and Wanganui Rugby Football Union's (Bridget Belsham). King Country's general manager is Susan Youngman.