WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Former All Blacks fullback Kieran Crowley has been appointed coach of the Canadian national rugby team, Rugby Canada said on Wednesday.
Crowley will take charge of Canada, ranked 15th in the world, next month and will look to secure them a place in the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
"Hopefully, we will have a successful time and develop things along the way. We are really looking forward to it," Crowley said on the Rugby Canada Web site (www.rugbycanada.ca)
Rugby Canada said it was surprised to get someone of Crowley's caliber.
"To be honest we weren't sure because we could see what was happening around the world," director David Robertson said.
"Warren Gatland going to Wales and immediately taking Shaun Edwards across to help him. Nick Mallet going to Italy, Jake White on the market as it were."
Crowley, 46, played 35 times at fullback for the All Blacks from 1983 to 1991, and represented provincial team Taranaki.
He also coached the province and the world champion New Zealand under-19 side, and was an All Blacks selector from 2002- 2003.
After last year's World Cup, Canada asked the International Rugby Board to help them to get more regular matches after their worst performance in the competition.
Canada, who made the World Cup quarter-finals in 1991, have been knocked out at the pool stage of every tournament since. A 12-12 draw against Japan was their best result last year.
Reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Ed Osmond