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Coach Crowley staying with Rugby Canada despite Auckland Blues job application

09/18/2012 05:08 EDT | Updated 11/18/2012 05:12 EST
TORONTO - Canada's rugby schedule for the fall is taking shape, with coach Kieran Crowley remaining at the helm.

Crowley, a former All Black who took over as national team coach in March 2008, applied this summer for the coaching vacancy with Super Rugby's Auckland Blues back in his native New Zealand.

The job eventually went to former All Black Sir John Kirwan.

Crowley, who is under contract to Rugby Canada through June 2016, asked Rugby Canada for permission before applying for the Auckland position.

"He's done a great job here. We're lucky to have him," Rugby Canada CEO Graham Brown said Tuesday of Crowley.

"I think we have an unwritten policy that if Kieran's time is up, he would be thanked very much for what he's done and he would be encouraged to move up in his career ladder," Brown added.

Crowley apparently is happy with his current role but was looking to make a signal for the future, that he would be interested in returning to New Zealand at some stage.

Despite stiff opposition for the position, he got to the final interview stage in Auckland.

Crowley inherited a Canadian team ranked 15th in the world when he succeeded Ric Suggitt. Canada currently stands 13th but Crowley has won kudos for making the Canadian program more professional while developing depth.

He is popular with his players and well respected in the rugby world.

Next up for Crowley is the Americas Rugby Championship in October featuring Canada, the U.S., Uruguay and a team from Argentina at Langford, B.C.

Argentina was originally slated to host the tournament but withdrew due to economic issues and the International Rugby Board asked Canada to take it over.

The tournament is outside the IRB's international window so Canada will field a domestic side.

Uruguay, ranked 21st in the world, says it will bring its full national team. Like Canada, the 17th-ranked Americans will be using domestic talent while Argentina will be bringing a third- or fourth-string side.

Adding to selection woes is the fact that the Gold Coast Sevens, the first event of the IRB Sevens World Series, conflicts with the October tournament.

Crowley and sevens coach Geraint John have agreed that the sevens team will get preference in terms of selection next month.

Crowley hopes to have his overseas pros back for a November tour that will see Canada play the Maori All Blacks, No. 10 Samoa and No. 19 Russia.

All three games will be in the United Kingdom.

NOTES — Canadian international Jebb Sinclair, who has been on loan with Super Rugby's Stormers, has extended his stay in South Africa. The forward is now playing for Western Province, although he was sent off Saturday in a Currie Cup loss to the Sharks.

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