Rassie’s Springboks. Many parallels can be drawn with the great All Black teams.

17 July 2024, Wednesday

Rassie Erasmus has given us a master-class since taking on the leadership role of the Springboks in late December 2017.

It comes from a man who has experienced the ultimate highs and ultimate lows of sport and life.

Known for his innovative approach, Rassie has introduced many new ideas – and inspired many South Africans, but a closer look reveals that his approach also draws many parallels with that of the great All Black teams.

On the field of play, his results have been simply remarkable – taking the Springboks to #1 in the world – but it’s off the field of play, where his approach shows a near genius in turning ‘tough times’ around.

Here’s how Rassie’s ‘off the field’ GAME PLAN can be closely paralleled with that of the great All Black teams – using a toolkit called:


It’s a toolkit that gifts champion teams with an integral ingredient for consistent winning, namely F.C.B – Faith, Confidence and Belief.

I do hope that these ‘Nine Nuggets’ can help YOU to take your team from GOOD TO GREAT TO GREATER.

As a country, we certainly do need more of it right now.


C is for CULTURE

Culture is the #1 building block of all great teams.

Culture defines the way that things will be done.

It sets the stretch, it sets the commitment, it sets the tone and it creates the unity.

Rassie got it spot on at the Rugby World Cup with #STRONGERTOGETHER, then he cemented the culture with #STRONGERTOGETHER.STRONGERFOREVER for the British & Irish Lions tour.

He fostered ‘UNITY THROUGH DIVERSITY’ – which is an outright South African strength, not a liability like many like to perceive.

Business guru Peter Drucker put it in great perspective when he said:

 ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.’   

H is for HONOUR

Both the All Blacks and the Springboks teams have built a powerful inner ‘Code of Honour” – a set of ideals and values which govern any champion team.

Trust is built on and off the field of play. Honesty plays a big role.

Those who break the ‘Honour Code’ simply do not play.

My favorite ‘Honour Code’ came from legendary All Black captain, Richie McCaw.

Under Richie the code had a simple four letters.

“P.D.N.L” (P-icks Do Not Last).

I’m sure Rassie calls it in a similar vein within the current Bok squad. 


Alignment helps great teams to optimally use their finite energy levels.

Think of the ‘HAKA’. Every player knows what to do – and when to do it. It’s rehearsed.

Think of the ‘peloton’ in cycling.

Scientists have proven that by riding in formation – in alignment – the energy saving can be as significant as 40 %.

Teams who do not operate in alignment can therefore be wasting up to 40 % of their finite energy, and that is not the right place to be when wanting to be #1.

By optimally aligning a team’s PURPOSE, PRIORITIES and PERFORMANCE GOALS (3P’s on BRANDING), consistent winning becomes a reality and habit.

M is for MINDSET

Who remembers the Springboks losing to the All Blacks in round one at the RWC 2019?

 Who remembers the Springboks losing to the B&I Lions in game one in 2021?

In challenging situations like these, mindset matters most, in that it’s either your greatest partner in success or your destructive partner in sabotage.

On both occasions, the Springboks culture made sure that they did not fall into the human trap of VICTIMHOOD, but collectively chose to be VICTORS.

They bounced back stronger and wiser.

As the great Roger Federer said after losing a tense grand slam final to Novak Djokovic:

“Sometimes I win. Always I learn.”   

P is for PROCESS

Average is not where I want to be’: 11 times World Surfing Champion: Kelly Slater.

Average coaches often fall into the human trap of ‘chasing the game ‘– which simply means that they place too much of their focus on ‘chasing the results’

The relentless pressure which this places on a team or individual can often lead to underperformance – sometimes even burn out.

Great coaches chose to rather place their focus on ‘the process’ – not the result.

Consistent winning – the result – is the by-product of placing one’s focus on the process, not the result.

The All Blacks believe that even though their opponents may score a few tries, they will score more – and win.

They place their trust in the process, trust in themselves.

Rassie has now got this recipe right within the Springbok squad – having fostered a very high level of Faith, Confidence and Belief.


Average teams rely on motivation to do things.

Champion teams and champion individuals are inspired to do things, INSPIRATION coming from the INside – which is knowing one’s PURPOSE in life.

They find meaning in what they do.

New Zealand may only have a population of five million people versus South Africa’s 58 million people, but both rugby teams are clear as daylight on their purpose: the why:

“To Entertain, to Educate and to Enrich their home nations”.

Win or lose, the bigger picture is PURPOSE, and Rassie and the Springboks have excelled –   in inspiring a nation to do things better.  


Seizing the opportunities that present themselves on the field of play – scoring tries – is what the All Blacks have near perfected over period of time.

This becomes possible when a team is united and ‘in virtuoso’ much like the All Black ‘haka’.

It creates an ‘orchestral effect’ – with players putting trust in each other together.

N is for NO

Bill Gates ascribed his lifetime success to one word: FOCUS.

Steve Jobs ascribed FOCUS as the key ability to say NO when it counts.

Rassie Erasmas said NO to the 2020 Rugby Championship. Rassie Erasmas said NO to staying on as head coach. Rassie Erasmus said NO to referee Nic Berry.

Rassie has now turned his FOCUS to the development and depth for SA Rugby – what great coaches call the bigger picture / bigger squad – so when one player goes off there is always a player of equal status.

That’s what the All Blacks do so well.

Competition drives greatness.   


It’s easy to be GOOD in life; it’s far from easy to be GREAT in life.

GREAT is when one ticks all the three boxes – all the 3S’s of being GREAT– defined as: 

“Sustained Success & Significance”

The All Blacks have done it consistently – and achieved GREATNESS.

Now, Rassie has achieved it with a Four Nations triumph, a RWC triumph and a B&I Lions triumph – in the most challenging of times with World Rugby & COVID.

Rassie has excelled in giving the Springboks a renewed, revitalized and re-booted:


Welgedaan Rassie en die Bokke.  



Go Great


If you would like to know more about how I help teams and individuals to achieve greatness, please read more about THE GAME PLAN METHOD :

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Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Author, Performance Consultant to Business & Sports Teams – and Life Coach to those on a journey to self-actualisation.

His game- changing THE GAME PLAN METHOD, is helping both teams and individuals throughout South Africa to achieve their greatest potential.