Cricket World Cup 2015 has come and gone. It produced many memorable moments and delivered much insight and inspiration .New talent emerged, glittering careers came to an end, the ordinary were banished, the brave rewarded, characters built, and game changers arrived.
In a World Cup where the batsman dominated, it was ironic that it was the Australian bowling attack which won it for them in the final.
But , probably the most impact was felt in another arena of the game – the ‘game changing’ one of the sophisticated technological analysis of one’s opponents game plan – the strengths and weaknesses of the team – and the individual players within the team .Those who failed to ‘ starve the strengths’ and ‘work the weaknesses’ of their opponents simply failed – they got knocked out early .
Game changers like Chris Gayle ,David Warner , Brendon McCullum , AB De Villiers and others, can simply ‘take the game away’ from you.
Cricketers are well aware of what is referred to as
the Second Season Syndrome ‘ – when your opponents work you out – when they systematically plan and execute against your weaknesses .
Well, a player’s only true defense is to become what can be classed as ‘the total package’ – playing to one’s own strengths – while eliminating all possible weaknesses . AB de Villiers is certainly such a player, and this is why he is consistently rated as the number one batsman in the world .Opponents fail to find weaknesses which they can execute against. But, it’s only a few select players who are capable of moving though the developmental phases from good to great to greater – and then on to genius.
For coaches, it’s become critical to leverage off the back of these ‘ total package’ players. They are the ‘game changers ‘– the ones that can dominate opposition, and strangle their hopes of executing and optimizing their own game plans. And in so doing inspire and lift their own team to the next level of performance .
Let’s fast forward to Rugby World Cup ‘15 , and why the Springboks need to take heed of Cricket World Cup 2015.The Boks are certainly blessed with many such ‘ game changers ‘ , but will they get the combinations right ? Let’s just take a look at the backline combinations . Here the Boks possess three such players who can be classed as ‘the total package’ – game changers who can set the rugby world alight.
Game Changer Number One: Fourie du Preez.
As with All Blacks Richie McCaw and Dan Carter , this will be Fourie du Preez’s World Cup swansong – he’s certainly geared up to make a ’World Cup impact’ with planned rest and careful conditioning programmes , but most of all he’s recognized by all his opponents – as ‘the total package’ at scrumhalf .He has an uncanny ability to read the game – and ‘take the game away’ from any opposition .
Game Changer Number Two: Handre Pollard.
The ‘Pollard Package’ is critical to the Bok’s success. Since his superb showing at the junior Rugby World Cup, he’s seen by the All Blacks as one of their biggest threats. He has the full package of skills, and will surely go on to become one of the greatest Bok fly halves. And he’s getting better and better as he goes – having already helped to engineer an All Black defeat at Ellis Park last year.
Game Changer Number Three. Frans Steyn
Ok, here’s a real game changer, and one that is certain to create some debate, even controversy.
But that’s what game- changing is all about !
Frans Steyn is a player who I believe is ‘the total package’ – a player who has talent to burn. Yet, not many coaches have been able to unlock and unleash his true rugby playing genius. That’s because they keep playing him in the wrong position / the wrong combination , and his current four week ban by Sanzar has again placed him in a tight corner. When things are not working out, it’s wise to implement what’s called a R.T.S – a Radical Tactical Shift. Simply stop playing him in the high contact position of inside center. Play him in his preferred position at fullback. This is where his genius will come to the fore. And allow him to contribute optimally to the team .
Yes , Willie le Roux has played some exhilarating ,enthralling and some superb rugby for the Boks , but he will never be the ‘the full package ‘. He does not possess the booming boot and the physical presence that Frans Steyn can present at fullback – especially when it comes to playing rugby in northern hemisphere conditions .
In sport it’s often wise to pick one’s side ‘from inside the opposition camp’. Pick the players who your rivals would least choose to play against ! If Dan Carter where to be openly asked who he would least like to face up to at fullback – it would likely be Frans Steyn. That’s because Steyn’s ‘total package game’ can hurt opponents in many ways from the back – least of which is to post errant clearance kicks between your own poles.
Many will naturally question Steyn’s current contribution . Yes, he was late on Cheslin Colbe, but most players do not even lay a hand on the lightning fast Colbe. This means Steyn has exceptional speed for a big man. Playing Steyn in his optimal and preferred position will enable him to make the right decisions. And he will have Jean de Villiers – a great leader and a great captain in support – who has the ability to bring out the best in his team, and the individual players.
Pollard, Steyn and the gifted Lambie in any squad – a power combo !
‘ The Total Package’ players impact by inspiring and igniting teams to ‘the next level at World Cups’. We are blessed to have many such players – game changers par excellance, in our backs and our forwards .With a great coach , a great captain, the right selection of youth and experience , the right combinations, and that never say die ‘Bok Gees’ , the boys will be bringing it home this year .
Brand Strategist, Rob Opie is the founder of a Strategic Brand Consultancy: The Game Plan , a Key Note Speaker, Author and Game Changer to organizational teams, sports teams and individuals.Rob’s passion and purpose is to help elevate brands from good to great to greater – inspiring ‘the next level’ of individual and team growth – and contribution !
His ground breaking ‘The Game Plan Method’, which embraces potent game changing methodologies derived from the great champions of business, sport and life,is currently sweeping across South Africa, creating and delivering on extraordinary stories of success and significance