Why do we love this game? Well no matter who analyses what, when it comes down to the Currie Cup final, there is only one thing that will accurately predict the winner.
And sorry to disappoint you, if you thought I would tell you what that is, I cannot – because the only person, or bunch of individuals that know this, are the teams themselves.
As a player and coach this is what you work for. All your plans, selections, rotation, strategies and on-field execution comes down to this one event. It hardly seems fair does it?
We know there will be a winner and there will be a loser, and what will be important to remember especially for the losing team and their supporters, is that a title does not necessarily define a season, the fact that you are in the final does.
Would you believe me if I told you that the final will be decided before kick-off? Well I do, and let me tell you why.
Nothing a coach or player does now will significantly improve the team. In fact, unexpected selections, brand new strategies or tactics will actually negatively affect teams going into the final. These two team have already played each other twice (in the Currie Cup), so there is very little they do not know about each other.
They pretty much know exactly what to expect from one another and the best they can hope for, is to learn from mistakes made in their previous encounters.
So what is left for a coach to do in the week, or in this case, two weeks leading up to the final?
Remember how I mentioned once that a rugby coach is more than just a coach? He is a parent, marriage counsellor, financial advisor, psychologist and 100 other things to his players.
He is the guy that now, or up to this point, just over 24 hours before kick-off, had to keep his players excited, but focussed, on edge, but calm, switched on, but not obsessed, sharp, but not over-extended, rested, but without losing momentum – in short, he had to maintain a very delicate balance with his players.
Most rugby coaches can plan a good season, and even execute one to reach finals rugby, but it takes an exceptional coach to mentally prepare his charges for a final.
As a coach, you have to posses the ability to tap into your player’s psyche, not just one, but the whole 22-man squad. You have to reach them at a level no coaching manual will ever teach you, because to win a final you can pretty much throw the playbook into the fire – they know that back to front already.
So for my money, the winner has been pretty much decided already, with the game just being a curtain call for fans to thank them for the season. But as with your favourite series when you have to wait to see if your favourite character survives that gun-shot, you will have to tune in to see who eventually lifts the cup.
Good luck to both team’s supporters.Tweet