Heyneke Meyer must have seen a lot in his stellar coaching career, but not much could have prepared him for what transpired in last Saturday’s Rugby World Cup opener against Japan.
The Japanese running out deserved 34-32 winners.
With many of his players currently plying their trade in Japan of late, Heyneke Meyer must have known exactly what the individual Japanese players where capable of.
But, what even he could not have foreseen , was how the ‘Brave Blossoms’ would perform as ‘a formidable collective’ on the World Cup stage.
It would be a sneak attack, and not many would see it coming.
Six months prior to the Rugby World Cup , Eddie Jones , the Japanese coach had posted the following words in the Japanese change room at their training base
September 19 – South Africa
The hunter suddenly becomes the hunted. Sometimes the underdog can even become ‘the destroyer’. Your opponent brings ‘E’ Power into play – ‘E’motional power .They harnesses it, they leverage it, and suddenly it’s not about reaching the next level, but rather about going to a whole new level of performance.
‘E’motional power has the effect of quickly closing the talent gap – and it can produce awe inspiring results.
In sport, emotional power is primarily triggered when an individual or a team finds meaning and a higher purpose in winning.
Purpose magnifies and multiplies
Often charismatic leaders are the ones who galvanise teams into ‘collective’ inspired action. Sometimes it’s to send out a message. Sometimes it’s just to prove a point. Sometimes it’s about just having nothing to lose. And sometimes it’s a ‘do or die’ attitude.
Either way your opponent catches you completely off guard .It’s as if one can prepare and prepare, and then one day nothing seems to go right.
That day someone or some team just has your number.
For Eddie Jones and his Japanese team , September 19 was to be played as if it was a Rugby World Cup Final
Emotional power can produce devastating results, but like with many things in life ‘E’ Power also presents a dangerous paradox – as it can be leveraged positively and negatively.
On Saturday we welcomed a new nation on the rugby stage – and with the Rugby World Cup to be contested in Japan in 2019 – that can only be a great thing .
We desperately wanted to make a statement, we wanted respect from the rugby world- Eddie Jones
Well done to Eddie Jones and the ‘Brave Blossoms’ who announced themselves superbly on the world rugby stage.
For us back home, it showed that our nation has something that few other nations have in abundance – an ability for most of us to keep smiling in the most testing of times – and keep growing .
Now, with their backs firmly against the wall, the Boks will have to show that they are still ‘the hunters’, and not ‘the hunted’.
It will take plenty of Faith, Confidence and Belief – to bounce back harder.
And something we have all come to know so well . It’s called
It has long been our No.1 Game Changer.
Go Bokke . Bring it home .
- Rob’s new book: The Game Changers: Good to Great to Greater. Is available FREE as an instant digital download on his site : www.thegameplan.co.za