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Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Crowley looks to Canadian grit

Venue: Thomond Park, Limerick Date: Saturday, 8 November Kick-off: 1715 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC2 NI, Radio Ulster, Live text commentary on BBC Sport website
Canadian coach Kieran Crowley
Canadian coach Kieran Crowley hoping for a positive outcome against Ireland

Canadian coach Kieran Crowley is under no illusions on the size of his side's task against Ireland on Saturday.

"We are up against a fully professional Irish team that trains five days a week, we are facing a massive challenge," said Crowley.

"As against that, we have eight professionals who play in England. If you were a betting man, who do you think should come out best?

"But it's not enough to just turn up. You have to believe in the guys."

Crowley, the 19-times capped former All Blacks full-back, whose distinguished career ended with defeat to Australia in a memorable World Cup semi-final at Lansdowne Road in 1991, believes his squad is improving.

"These guys aren't there yet - but I sense they are getting close," said Crowley who spent nine years on the coaching ladder at Taranaki and watched his side struggle to defeat Portugal 21-13 in Lisbon last weekend.

"Unless you know Canadian rugby, you don't know the challenges. It is my first experience with some of these guys, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.

"The team I have selected are our best players for this particular game so we are pretty happy where we are at.

You ask them to run through a brick wall and they will do it

Kieran Crowley

"What I find with Canadians is that they will do anything. You ask them to run through a brick wall and they will do it."

The sides last met in Toronto in 2000 with the Irish lucky to come away with 27-27 draw thanks to an outstanding performance by Ronan O'Gara.

The countries have only met on two other occasions at Test level - Ireland winning a 1987 World Cup Pool clash 46-19 and recording a 33-11 win 10 years later at Lansdowne Road.

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see also
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22 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union

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