Canada's coach ‘hounded’ old friend Sir Graham Henry to help RWC campaign

Canada are looking for their first win at this year’s Rugby World Cup and coach Kingsley Jones is hoping his mentor Sir Graham Henry can point them in the right direction.

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A handwritten letter from Sir Graham in 1999 led Kingsley Jones to his successful career in coaching. Source: 1 NEWS

Jones told 1 NEWS the pair have a lengthy history, first meeting over a decade ago.

"I met him in Hamilton,” the former Welsh flanker recounted.

“He told me he was going to take the Welsh job, asked me to keep it quiet and I did.

“When he came over, he made me captain of the trials teams and I ruptured my Achilles before the 1999 World Cup."

Jones fought back to fitness but he couldn't work his way into Sir Graham's Welsh side.

But the Kiwi coach didn’t leave him out in the cold either, sending him a unique but heartfelt gesture.

"He sent me a wonderful handwritten letter back saying, 'I simply think Martin Williams is better than you. You should consider coaching, I think you'd be a good one’."

That rejection letter proved to be the catalyst for a successful coaching career and 11 years later, Jones came calling.

“I’d gone back to him and said, 'Remember that letter? Could you do me a favour, can you help me?'”

Sir Graham told 1 NEWS the call was a bit more robust.

"He hounded me to come along and have a look at what they were doing and see if I could try and help them.

“Good boys, like all rugby teams, enjoyable to be with."

For a team including some amateur players it doesn't get much bigger than tonight’s Test against the All Blacks in Oita, where Canada come in 21 places below in the world ranks.

"Playing the All Blacks for these guys is the ultimate, believe it or not,” Sir Graham said.

“They can't wait, they're excited about the All Blacks. They'll talk about it for years."