Would you pick foreign based players in your Bok team?

18 June 2024, Tuesday



This week, let’s be brave and jump into the ultra hot seat of Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee – and it’s indeed  pretty hot right now.

Here’s the tough call  YOU will have to make first up as coach  :

Yes or No?

If you were the Springbok coach:

Would you pick foreign based players in your team?

We know how the great coaches all play their cards close to their chest, but what do you think Steve Hansen’s answer would be?

Or even better still , what do you think Sir Alex Ferguson’s  answer would be ?

Sometimes, we can learn from the most unlikely of  sources.

abcLast week, I was fortunate to spend some time with “Londolozi Lion Legend”: Ian Thomas.

For many years now,  Ian has shown how taking lessons from Lions can inspire and help elevate teams in business, sport and life to the next level.

He relates how Lions take down a giant buffalo that can weigh anything up to 850 kg – that’s the same weight of the eight-man All Black pack.

Lions, being the only cats which hunt as team – know a great deal about what it takes to be a team.

The key ingredients of a team:


A Lioness will not even contemplate jumping on the back of an 850 kg buffalo, unless the team is coming in very fast behind.



It’s a zero doubt game , as getting it wrong can mean certain death for the lead Lioness .

Things can go badly wrong, as depicted by this photo taken in the Kruger.



Each and every Lioness is razor focused on JUST ONE THING : THE HUNT.



When the team commits, the hunt is on,  and no Lioness breaks the FOCUS or TRUST.

No Lioness will simultaneously choose to go :


 WARTHOG HUNTING ( aka easy food /easy money).

Lions hunt with their priorities 100 % aligned – with 100 % trust in one another. Every skill counts .

It’s this crystal clear FOCUS and uncompromising TRUST that builds a potent team – taking down a 850 kg buffalo .

As Ian explains ,it allows for Lions to go :


In sport, THE NO.1 PRIORITY of a great coach, is to allow the team:

To be the very best they can be

Players who choose to base themselves overseas are clearly  indicating that their top priority is money – money is their motivation.

It’s a personal choice and that’s perfectly ok , as many rugby players do not enjoy the luxury of longevity .

But , for teams to take down the might of the All Blacks , they need to take heed  – that when the going gets tough :

Hunting warthogs does not count

For many years Richie McCaw  chose not to play overseas, although he must have been offered telephone numbers.

He chose to closely align his personal priorities with his team priorities – those of his national coaches.

He went on to lead the All Blacks to two successive Rugby World Cup triumphs.

FOCUS and TRUST  sit at the very top of  Richie McCaw’s value list –  his choosing inspiration ( finding meaning ) before motivation ( finding money ).

Inspired teams, where individual and team priorities are optimally aligned, will always achieve more.

Inspiration elevates performance –  and helps you to get more of what you want together.

And sometimes the gap between inspiration and motivation can be as wide as twenty percent.

That’s the difference between a player performing at the 9/10 level, as opposed to a player performing at the 7/10 level.

In South Africa, we are truly blessed with many of the most talented rugby players in the world.

But, the pressure is now on our coaches to pick the right team – to make the tough calls

 to allow the Boks to go high risk hunting.

As Billie Jean King aptly put it: Pressure is a Privilege.

That’s because much is expected of you – as an individual and as a team .


ROBO COP 3Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist, Speaker, Author and Performance Coach to Business executives, Corporate teams, Sports teams and Individuals.

GET IN TOUCH . robopie@thegameplan.co.za

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