The true measure of any coach is what he falls back on when the chips are down.
There is no denying passion and pride plays a massively important role in rugby, and for the most part clichés like ‘having your back against the wall’, or ‘we are at our most dangerous when written off’ are usually confined to the media which is why I pay little attention to it, but when I hear these words uttered by coaches I get extremely worried.
It was a statement from Boks scrumming coach, Os du Randt which caught my attention. He made the statement following the shocking defeat to Scotland over the weekend where the Boks will be looking to use the ‘hurt’ they are currently feeling or experiencing as a motivating factor against England.
With all due respect to the big man, what wins you matches in rugby union at all levels, is using the top 3 inches of the human anatomy, not bravado.
There is an old saying I live by; “Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your biggest fears to come true”.
In my mind, the Springboks are wrapped in fear right now.
The last thing the Springboks need at this time is emotional baggage. Emotion drains you, it makes you lose perspective on matters and it makes you base or make decisions you will never make under normal circumstances.
Building up to the Currie Cup final this year I mentioned that the most important thing for Plumtree was to get his players in the right headspace for the finals. It was a similar warning I made regarding the Bulls prior to the semi-finals where I said that although they are favourites for many reasons, the headspace they found themselves in was concerning.
De Villiers and his management sits in a similar boat this week.
To beat England, you have to out-think England – and that basically goes for any team you are up against.
This Springbok team on paper is good enough to beat any team in the world, but they will not do it on passion, rather brains.
I will refer to another article I wrote in the lead up to the Currie Cup semi-final between the Sharks and the Blue Bulls, and that was called ‘Ugly does it’, and made reference that a win, even ugly (but meticulously planned), is as good as winning by 60 points.
And this is exactly what the Springboks need to take into the game against England.
Pride and passion comes because of winning, not losing.Tweet