Stepping up to the plate

17 July 2024, Wednesday

Rugby World Cup 2015 has been nothing short of a spectacular event.

And hats off to England for hosting one of the best ever tournaments. The atmosphere in the stadiums is simply electric – and the passion and pride of the players unbelievable.


So, who then will be taking home the Webb Ellis trophy this time around?

Who’s your money on?

Let’s take a closer look as the last four teams get ready to square up in this weekend’s semi- finals.

New Zealand remain over-whelming favorites.

They delivered a rugby lesson in routing France by 62 points to 13 in the quarterfinals.

It was a sheer master- class in

speed of hands, off laying of the rugby ball and running superb support lines.

But , there’s still more to winning a World Cup than that –  and it’s called managing energy levels

– and knowing how and when to ‘Step Up to the Plate’.

Coach Steve Hansen appears expert at knowing the difference between

a state of awareness and a state of concentration

Until Saturday, many pundits openly criticized the All Blacks for being off their game, but that was exactly where Hansen wanted to be. The RWC is a long tournament and Hansen has brilliantly managed the energy levels of his players, only shifting from ‘awareness to concentration’ for 90 minutes against France.

At 30 points up, most coaches would have pulled the plug, but the All Blacks did not. They wanted to avenge Cardiff 2007, and they used Saturday’s massive win to top up their energy tanks.

It’s going to take a miraculous effort for any team to challenge the All Black supremacy – as they are yet to peak.

Australia, on the other hand, appear to have peaked too early. After a superb performance in ‘The Rugby Championship’, they arrived at RWC playing scintillating rugby. But, as Naas Botha once famously said

The Currie Cup is never won in May

I doubt that Australia’s energy levels will allow them to go all the way.

Argentina remains the real dark horse of the tournament – in that they are already ‘the new look international side’.

On most occasions their players jet in from 15 different airports before any test match, so the World Cup certainly affords them that extra opportunity to ‘gel ‘ .

They are playing a fantastic brand of rugby, but it’s likely that their downfall will be discipline. The emotion shown by their players is clearly obvious, and it will always be difficult to deliver when one is reduced to 14 men on the field of play.

If they can maintain their team discipline – they have a chance to  make history.

And can the Bokke  ’ Step up to the Plate’ this time around ?

It’s Bok ‘GEES’ up against All Black ‘FLAIR’, and there can be no doubting that they will be up against all odds this Saturday.

The team left our shores after an energy sapping selection controversy , and then subsequently were forced into ‘ very high  levels of concentration’ –  when they lost to Japan.

Their finite energy levels will be put to the ultimate test this Saturday.

Hats off to players like Schalk Burger, who does not seem to have an ‘off button’ and has become especially fond of collecting Twickenham ‘Man of the Match’ awards – but it’s going to take a mammoth match day team effort to conquer the momentum building All Blacks  – who have clearly taken their game ‘up a notch or two’.

If they can find a way to lift their own energy levels to match the All Black’s optimally managed energy levels – it will go down as one of their greatest days ever.

Win or lose, it’s the WORLD IN UNION – the WORLD AS ONE

It’s going to be epic.

Go Bokke go.


  • Rob’s new book: The Game Changers: Good to Great to Greater is available FREE as an instant digital download on his site :