Rugby World Cup: Sir Graham Henry a not so secret consultant for Canada

Canada's hopes of advancing beyond pool play at the Rugby World Cup are slim, but they have a former All Black coach offering sage advice.

Sir Graham Henry has been recruited in a non-official capacity by Canadian coach Kingsley Jones, who played under 'Ted' when he was in charge of Wales in the late 1990s.

As his side prepares for the daunting prospect of facing the two-time defending champions on Wednesday night, Jones revealed Henry had spent time with Canada in the build-up to the tournament.

"I met up him in Vancouver in May, and I asked him if he could support the group or the coaching - going forward as well, not just for this period - and he was really excited," Jones said. 

"The main thing was how he can help us prepare for the first game against Italy and he did that.

"He came out to Fiji for a few days with us and challenged the coaches, making sure we're challenging each other and giving us direction, as he always does, asking really good questions.

"He's been a great support for us. I believe the players enjoyed it as well."

Rugby World Cup: Sir Graham Henry a not so secret consultant for Canada
Rugby World Cup: Sir Graham Henry a not so secret consultant for Canada

Canada played well below their high expectations against Italy, falling to a crushing 48-7 loss - hardly an ideal hit-out, before playing the might of the All Blacks.

But Jones remains positive, insisting his side can take a leap forward against the best side in the world. 

"Much more than that, we want to be competitive in every aspect of the game," he said.

"We want to measure ourselves and be competitive all over the scoreboard. 

"We are breaking things down in segments and if we can win small battles, who knows how the scoreboard will look."

And although Henry led New Zealand to World Cup glory in 2011, Jones insists he might just have a foot in each camp come kick-off in Oita.

"He'll be watching [the game]," said Jones. "He's back in New Zealand right now.

"He's been with us in the build-up to the Italy game and backed us up in the Italy game. He's been sending his reports, his thoughts, to the coaches. 

"He was just a really good sounding board for us to make sure we're doing the right things and that our preparation is all it can be."

Rugby World Cup: Sir Graham Henry a not so secret consultant for Canada

Canada face an uphill battle to gain automatic qualification for the 2023 tournament in France.

The North American side will need to turn over either New Zealand or South Africa, as well as beating Namibia on Sunday.

Join Newshub for live updates of the All Blacks v Canada from 11:15pm Wednesday.

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