27 Sep 2011

Honours even for former All Blacks turned coaches

7:49 pm on 27 September 2011

Two World Cup-winning All Blacks team-mates have had to share the spoils at this year's tournament, with the John Kirwan-coached Japan unable to hold off Kieran Crowley's hard-charging Canada in Napier on Tuesday.

The two so-called minnows posted their second straight Cup draw, 23-23 after the two sides also ended locked at 12-12 in France in 2007.

Ander Monro slotted a 79th minute penalty as Canada overcame an eight-point deficit in the last eight minutes at McLean Park.

The result also frustrated Japan's hopes of ending a 20-year victory drought at the rugby World Cup since their 52-8 win over Zimbabwe in 1991.

Monro, who also scored a 75th-minute try, had endured a dreadful kicking game, missing three of his previous four attempts before the match-saving penalty.

Canada centre DTH van der Merwe and winger Phil Mackenzie scored earlier tries, while former Blues first five James Arlidge notched 13 points with his boot for Japan, who scored tries through hooker Shota Horie and winger Kosuke Endo.