13 April 2024, Saturday




It’s tough to take , but the measure of any player – or any team – is how you react to the worst of times , as well as the best of times . Jonny Wilkinson




It’s never easy to just sit back and watch the current demise of Bok rugby.

We continue to produce so many truly great players, yet our current win ratio sits at a lowly 30 %.

The All Blacks are at 91 %.

Our world ranking has now dropped to a lowly No 7 in the world.

It’s at times like these that one needs to implement what we refer to in the performance coaching world as a R.T.S.

A Radical Tactical Shift.

Half hearted measures, or wishy -washy management calls, do nothing to help turn around teams with win ratios as low as 30 %.

Here’re three step BOK BOUNCE BACK PLAN to restore former glory.

It’s time.


Greatness is achieved by placing the focus on ‘’the why’’ – not on ‘’the what’’.

Steve Jobs built one of the greatest companies in the world because he started with why – focused on  ”the why”.

He did not start a company that made great computers – he started a company who wanted to change the status quo – to think differently.

Bok rugby was great because they always chose to put the focus firmly on ‘The Why’ –


Today the focus has swung to’’ the what’’ and ‘’the how ‘’

That is a recipe for average, at best good. Never great.

It’s also the difference between teams which are inspired – and those that constantly need to be motivated.

Guess which teams Grow, Perform and Contribute best?


Come hell or high water; please do not pick any overseas based players.

The All Blacks have a steadfast rule.

If you want to wear the All Black jersey – you must play your rugby in New Zealand.

There are no exceptions, no excuses, no explanations…

Any player who has chosen to play overseas has spoken. Their number one priority is no longer with their national team. They are no longer aligned with the priorities of the national team – the inspiration has waned.

They are playing for money, themselves and their families. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that – but they will no longer be able to add value to the BOK HONOUR CODE

We must back our youth. Moving forward we must send out the right message to our youth.

Those who play their rugby in South Africa must be rewarded with Bok caps – and go on to play in the 2023 World Cup .

Surely RWC 23 must be in South Africa – if we send out the right message now.

It’s not just about rugby – it’s about building our nation .We all witnessed what the 1995 RWC and 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP did for our country.

Why we still continue to pick overseas based players, by exception, makes no logical sense –and does nothing to build our future .

Londolozi’s  Ian Thomas once told me an inspiring analogy about lions:



When Lions go in for the kill on a 900 kg Buffalo – they go in together –  aligned and united in trust and purpose.

No lion will wander off chasing warthogs. When you want to be No.1 in the bush – there are no easy pickings – no easy takings.




John Smit played 111 matches for the Springboks, captaining his country on 83 occasions with a win ratio of 72 %.

He played under many different coaches and many different playing styles

What set him apart as a leader?

He had a unique ability to unite diverse people in mutual trust and purpose.

He fostered and built national gees.

He put the focus on where it should be – on our strength – building unity through our diversity.

The Blitzbokke have shown us how it’s done – focusing   on what we can all build together – rather than ripping into each other at every opportunity.

So have the Lions – and it has much to do with another great charismatic leader.

WWWIn Warren Whitely we have a leader cast in the same mould of both John Smit and Gary Teichmann – fully capable of inspiring and helping the Boks to bounce back.

Charisma comes from having clarity of why – and can dig any team out of any deep hole.

Warren Whitely has played a huge part in helping the Lions take a step up to the next level of performance, growth and contribution.

It’s time to leverage that kind of leadership skill at national level.

Here it’s in a nutshell:

1.  Put the focus back on ‘THE WHY’’

  1. Pick only LOCALLY BASED players. Reward loyalty

3.  Pick a CHARISMATIC CAPTAIN to lead from the front


It’s high time for the Boks to bounce back. The opportunity gap is there.

Don’t  be fooled that all is right within the mighty All Black camp

Their win ratio is very impressive, but since the loss of a great leader in Richie McCaw- the cracks are beginning to appear. Their ‘Honor Code’ off the field of play has been broken more than once – with many incidents in 2016/7.

These will soon begin to impact on the field of play.

The opportunity gaps will open for teams like England and SA to challenge for the No 1 World ranking.

Go Bokke Go.

The moments that challenge us most – define us. Lewis Pugh

Rob Opie is a Brand Expert, Author, Speaker, and Performance Coach to Business Executives, Corporate teams, Sports teams and Individuals.


Find out more about his game -changing ” Growing South Africans Great” breakfast talks in 2017 :

GOOD TO GREAT TO GREATER. Taking it to the next level in 2017.  

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