'They're just guys in shorts playing rugby'

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New Zealand have played Canada six times, but only once in Canada, in 1980 when the All Blacks won 43-10. They played each other in the 1991 World Cup in a quarterfinal in Lille in France when the All Blacks won 29-13, in the 2003 World Cup in Melbourne when the All Blacks won 68-6 and in the 2011 event when New Zealand won 79-15 in Wellington.

 

Ahead of the 1995 World Cup in Japan they played a warm-up game in Auckland won 73-7 by the All Blacks and they met again before the 2007 World Cup, with New Zealand winning 64-13 in Hamilton.

 

The sides meet for the seventh time in Japan on Wednesday and hooker Andrew Quattrin (pictured above) summed up his, and his teammates' feelings about the challenge ahead.

 

Quattrin grew up as an All Blacks supporter but said once he got his first Canada cap, Canada was his team.

 

"But to be able to play them, it's insane," he said.

"My mind is sort of all over the place. It would be like the New Zealand [ice] hockey team playing the Canada hockey team, but now we're vice versa," he said.

 

"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, Brodie Retallick could be coming at me," he said.

 

Another Canada player Benoit Piffero said his son had an All Blacks jersey, although he had been given a Canadian one first from him, and a French one from his mother.

 

"These are the guys you grow up watching," Quattrin said.

 

"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," he said.

 

Canada loose forward Luke Campbell said rugby kids in Canada grew up watching the All Blacks and Springboks.

 

"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.

 

"But we'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," he said.

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