Canada national team head coach Kieran Crowley knows something about world cups.
He played for New Zealand in 1987 in New Zealand, helping the All Blacks to their only World Cup title. Now, as head coach of Canada, he wants to give his team a great experience.
“"New Zealand is a young country and we are still building our history and tradition, but this is where it all started, the birthplace of it,” he said about their welcome in Waitangi. “To have that sort of ceremony here as a country or as a team, we are pretty privileged."
Canada comes off a two-game sweep of the USA and then a successful and useful tour of the Gold Coast in Australia, and are ready.
"We have some challenges in that we only have two players from the top leagues in Europe, with three or four others playing in the lower leagues, and the rest being amateur. We face challenges over the level of competition we are able to play, so any time we get together as a group we have to make the most of it,” said Crowley. "We've just had a couple games against the United States, we went to Australia and we played a game against the Australian Barbarians there, the Australia A team, and had a couple of closed training runs.”
Canada teams up with Scotland on Friday, and Crowley said that kind of pressure was important for his team.
“That's how we will get better,” he said. "We had a couple of good wins against the States, but our performances weren't great. We had some positives against the Barbarians but we are not where we want to be just yet performance-wise."
Crowley wants to see the team’s reaction and execution under real pressure improve.
“We got away with not getting a lot of ball and living off our defense in the States and it was the same against the Australian Barbarians, when it took us 40 minutes to get to the pace of the game."