Reporting from Toyko: All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has noted where Canada’s players’ mindset is at after a comment made about Kieran Read by one of their number.
The All Blacks take on Canada in Oita on Wednesday in arguably one of the tournament’s biggest mismatches.
The comment made by Canadian hooker Andrew Quattrin suggested that even getting smashed by the All Blacks captain would be something to look forward to.
“It means a lot getting to play the All Blacks, knowing that if I’m in the game and if I’m going to catch a ball, Kieran Read could be smashing me,” the frontrower told AFP.
“To be able to play them, it’s insane … these are the guys you grow up watching.
“They have no idea who I am. I’m just an average Joe to them. To me, these are the best players in the world, arguably the best 23 players in the world.
“I’m a no one to them so I’m down for that job. I like being a no one.”
The comment wasn’t lost on Hansen, who is expecting a fierce physical contest.
“I read this morning that one of their players thinks he’s a ‘Joe Nobody’ and can’t wait to be tackled by Kieran Read NZL), so that tells you their attitude is they’re coming to the party.”
“It’ll be physical as it always is against the Canadians.”
“Canada probably haven’t the strength they have been in the past, but what they are is a very proud team, a very proud nation and they’re led by a very, very good rugby player Tyler Ardron.
“I think he’s established himself as good as anyone in Super Rugby and they’ll play with a lot of pride.
Captain Kieran Read was also eager to name-check Ardron: “A guy like Tyler Ardron is experienced in Super Rugby, so he knows what it is to be at the top level. They’re pumped up to play the All Blacks, we’ll get a side that’s pretty ready to play.”
“We’ve watched a bit of footage, the Pacific Nations Cup and the game (against Italy) earlier in the tournament. They’re a side that are pretty keen and want to play on the big stage.
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