OITA – A mixture of fear and reverence will accompany Canada when they face the mighty All Blacks in one of the biggest mismatches of the Rugby World Cup’s pool stage on Wednesday.The possibility of a stunning upset, more outrageous than Japan beating Ireland or Uruguay downing Fiji, does not even register when talking about the world’s best team, stacked with millionaire professionals, playing a mixed amateur-professional unit ranked way below them.Coming off a 48-7 loss to Italy, the starstruck Canadians are braced for even bigger hiding by their All Blacks idols but at the same time they are relishing the opportunity just to be on the same paddock as three-times world champions.“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,” hooker Andrew Quattrin said of the prospect of being crunched by the All Blacks captain and former World Player of the Year.“To be able to play them, it’s insane… These are the guys you grow up watching,” Quattrin added.“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.”A win for scrum-half Gordon McRorie would be to make fewer mistakes than they did against Italy.“Our main focus is just to keep improving… and a big result for us would be if we can improve on our performance from Italy,” the 31-year-old amateur player said.“We could revere and preview New Zealand all we like but at the end of the day, it’s us that have to go on the field and represent Canada so it’s what we can do in that jersey that counts.”Back-rower Luke Campbell attempted to give the All Blacks a human face by referring to them as “just guys in shorts playing rugby” but he had to admit the New Zealanders were also his heroes.“They are the ones that the movies are made about, that you see on TV, so there is a bit of an aura around them,” he said“But, you’ve got to remember that they’re just guys in shorts playing rugby and so, as cool as it is to play against the All Blacks, it’s just another rugby game.”When it comes to national pride, however, Quattrin said if Canada wanted to get back at New Zealand they should challenge them to a game of ice hockey, a sport Canada has won three times and finished third once in the past five Olympics.
All Blacks ‘just guys in shorts’, insist Canada
Sunday 29 19:00