How victory is achieved

Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content on 4 Jul 2011 at 14:07
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In the lead-up to the semi-finals last week, Paul Dobson wrote a brilliant piece on the art of winning and losing.

In a day and age where we question the ethics of the modern, professional game, Mr. Dobson’s article touched on something very special for everyone that loves the game of rugby union.

The final line in the article reads like this; “We have wandered. But the ancient advice given to sportsmen still is valid: win as though you’ve lost and lose as though you’ve won.”

Having witnessed the clinical demolition job by the Crusaders at Newlands on Saturday night, these words became more than just a beautiful line in a beautiful article, it became a physical representation I witnessed with my own eyes through a team that had everything stacked against them not only on Saturday night, but throughout the whole Super Rugby season.

The Crusaders have always been a great team, their record in Super Rugby suggests as much having won the title more than any other team in the competitions history.  Through the years they have produced some of the most magnificent performances one could ever hope to witness on a rugby pitch, but absolutely nothing comes close to what they achieved in 2011.

Travelling to Cape Town last week they clocked up 100 000 kilometres in distance travelled in this year’s competition, which of course included a ground-breaking trip to London, England.

Not only did they defy the odds by beating the second placed team, the Stormers at home, they did so with such precision and ease that one would be forgiven to believe that they are on their way to add an 8th title to their Super Rugby CV when they will face the Reds in Brisbane this weekend in the final.

But I don’t have to tell you why they clocked up 100 000 kilometres, it is all rather well documented.  I also do not need to tell you how good this team is in playing the game of rugby, it was there for all to witness throughout the Super Rugby season.  What I can tell you is what many would not have had the privilege to witness, and that is the humility and grace they carried themselves with as the winning team.

There is little reference to specific individuals or superstars and their roles within the team and how much they contribute.  There is also little praise-singing that takes place other than the random acknowledgment of a moment in a game that was a result of some individual brilliance.

What you do find a hell of a lot of, are truthful and empathetic responses when challenged for an opinion of opposition teams, not your usual wishy-washy clichéd nonsense.

And when given the opportunity to bask in the glory of their achievements, it is diverted to almost apologetic responses from the players and coaches.

There is an honesty about this team which is different from what I have witnessed in similar post-match sessions.  They do not pretend to be something they’re not, a sort of content radiance which seemingly just naturally flows from within.  Their unfailing belief in each other ensures there are no ego’s or superstars within this team, it is just another guy that does his job – and if we lose that guy, there is another one that will simply step up and do the same.

Such is the demeanour of this team that it almost seems that victory on the scoreboard is not even what they consciously strive for, but that it’s simply a result or spin-off from the attitude that exists from within.

If ever I have seen a team celebrate victory like the lost the game, I saw it on Saturday night.  And if this team is representative of the people of Christchurch and its belief and trust not only in oneself, but in one another, I have no doubt that Christchurch will rebuild itself not only to its former glory, but to levels of success and achievement never before imagined.


  • If the Crusaders win on Saturday it will be the clasically “happily ever after” story. I guess fairytales really can exist in the real world after all!

    Anyone know what time kick-off is?

  • Comment 1, posted at 04.07.11 14:14:56 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks Sharkie
  • And bryce lawrence will vertainly play his part in making the fairy tale come true 😐

  • Comment 2, posted at 04.07.11 14:20:17 by bergshark Reply

  • Vertainly- certainly

  • Comment 3, posted at 04.07.11 14:21:51 by bergshark Reply

  • @The Sharks Sharkie (Comment 1) : 11:40 SA Time.

  • Comment 4, posted at 04.07.11 14:27:44 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • I shall be rooting for the Crusaders……because I have no Reds in my FL squad 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 04.07.11 14:29:53 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • Kinda puts the knock on the travel bogey does’nt it? 100,000km in one season. Ouch! I hope they are collecting their Voyager miles (or Kiwi equivalent!!!!)

  • Comment 6, posted at 04.07.11 14:51:14 by Caratacus Reply

  • @The Sharks Sharkie (Comment 1) :

    11:40 from what I’ve seen.

  • Comment 7, posted at 04.07.11 14:54:52 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Caractus:sharks also had to travel to many of the 100k miles is from that trip?and remember: the saders had a bye.I’m not hyping 😐

  • Comment 8, posted at 04.07.11 14:56:09 by bergshark Reply

  • Hey Morne

    Are you also going to write a book about the Crusader’s year? 😉

    You probably have enough material already considering all the praise you’ve bestowed on the Crusaders lately. 😈

    They are professionalism personified and probably deserve the title but I’ll be watching the final not really rooting for a winner because I really enjoyed the Reds this year and wouldn’t mind them winning either, but I somehow don’t think they’ll be able to end the fairy tale season of the Crusaders.

  • Comment 9, posted at 04.07.11 15:01:01 by Pokkel Reply
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  • There is no fairy tale here to begin with.if they had the refs and touch judges against them,then,yes.but let’s be honest now.

  • Comment 10, posted at 04.07.11 15:10:12 by bergshark Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 9) :

    Nah, I will leave that for HH, they are much closer to his heart than mine.

  • Comment 11, posted at 04.07.11 15:11:18 by Morné Reply
  • Been a lot of praise for the saders.think of me as being the counter-balance.

  • Comment 12, posted at 04.07.11 15:12:25 by bergshark Reply

  • @bergshark (Comment 10) : AMF! 🙄

  • Comment 13, posted at 04.07.11 15:16:44 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice:AMF??

  • Comment 14, posted at 04.07.11 15:21:04 by bergshark Reply

  • @Ice:and remember:not allowed to tackle dan carter (rollling eyes).

  • Comment 15, posted at 04.07.11 15:22:22 by bergshark Reply

  • @bergshark (Comment 14) : Ag, My, … 😈

  • Comment 16, posted at 04.07.11 15:25:15 by Ice Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 15) : Brilliant call by the ref, that one! 😆 😛

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.07.11 15:25:55 by Ice Reply
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  • If I have to choose who I want to win it will be the Reds. That ham acting (cheating to get a penalty actually) by Sonny Boy is still too fresh in the mind.

    Also the Reds have their own fairy tale to tell and it started in 2007 with a 92 – 3 defeat to the Bulls.

  • Comment 18, posted at 04.07.11 15:29:49 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Ice:(shock)..sies ..!

  • Comment 19, posted at 04.07.11 15:30:05 by bergshark Reply

  • I think that the Crusaders of 2011 have been awesome, and fully deserve to be in the final.

    However, my support will be with the Reds, who I think have the most exciting player in world rugby.

  • Comment 20, posted at 04.07.11 15:30:17 by Bump Reply

  • @Ice:do you know if dan carter has met either of butchie’s shoulders yet..? (Evil)

  • Comment 21, posted at 04.07.11 15:32:22 by bergshark Reply

  • @Salmonoid: very good point.

  • Comment 22, posted at 04.07.11 15:34:08 by bergshark Reply

  • @Salmonoid (Comment 18) :

    I agree!

  • Comment 23, posted at 04.07.11 15:36:07 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 19) : WhaaaT?? 😆

  • Comment 24, posted at 04.07.11 15:43:04 by Ice Reply
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  • What bothers me is comparing the reds team to our team they really don’t have much more talent than us, in fact they probably have less

  • Comment 25, posted at 04.07.11 15:43:36 by Stof Reply

  • @Stof (Comment 25) : If the Sharks have taught us one thing it’s that talent is only part of the recipe for success in rugby. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 26, posted at 04.07.11 15:48:51 by vanmartin Reply
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  • ja true.. The reds probably have a better gameplan than us. After the lions game plum(i dont have a problem with him only his super rugby results) said the guys lacked passion, thats exactly the problem. U are not going to out passion every team for 18 weeks

  • Comment 27, posted at 04.07.11 15:53:24 by Stof Reply

  • @Stof(comment25): true.

  • Comment 28, posted at 04.07.11 16:00:55 by bergshark Reply

  • Okay,going to watch Star Trek 2009 later everyone.

  • Comment 29, posted at 04.07.11 16:09:00 by bergshark Reply

  • @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 4) : @Pokkel (Comment 7) : Thanks guys. Everyone knows what I will be doing at 11.40 on Saturday! 😉

    @bergshark (Comment 2) : But of course… 👿 This is after all a modern-day fairy tale, there has to be some cheating in there! 😈

    @Pokkel (Comment 9) : Yeah true. Reds also have their own fairy tale, however theirs is just about rugby though, there’s no “provide hope to a broken city” storyline to go along with the rugga. There fairy tale (if it has a happy ending) would be best represented by highlights of their season!!

    @Bump (Comment 20) : I don’t think they have the most exciting player in World Rugby, I KNOW they do! I hope he intercepts a SB Williams offload, steps Carter and then hands off Robbie Fruen only to outpace Sean Maitland and score a try! Crusaders four most dangerous weapons will embarrased in one move! 😈

    @bergshark (Comment 29) : One with Chris Pine? Good movie that…

  • Comment 30, posted at 04.07.11 16:41:13 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
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  • @Stof (Comment 25) : they have a SUPERIOR coach to you, mckenzie is dynamic, adaptable and astute.

  • Comment 31, posted at 04.07.11 16:57:29 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 31) : And not afriad to back the youngsters either!

  • Comment 32, posted at 04.07.11 16:59:46 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
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  • @The Sharks Sharkie (Comment 32) : you can only back youngsters if you can coach them properly!

  • Comment 33, posted at 04.07.11 17:14:52 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 33) : AMEN

  • Comment 34, posted at 04.07.11 17:40:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Megatron (Comment 33) :

    Pretty much mate, not too long ago I wrote a similar praise-singing piece on the Reds, where I highlighted McKenzie’s 3 vital areas of coaching; Recruitment, Retaining, and team culture…

    Strange how all that is very similar to the Crusaders – specifically the culture part (which of course comes if the first two is done properly)

  • Comment 35, posted at 04.07.11 18:05:19 by Morné Reply
  • Morne. … Nice work

    I think having guys like Carter and McCaw in their ranks really helps. They are very quick to deflect any praise onto others in the set-up, sets a good tone for the likes of the SBW’s of this world to follow.

    Blackadder is the same, in my dealings with him he is always positive always gives credit when it is due and is extremely humble….helps win you win every week though. 😉

  • Comment 36, posted at 05.07.11 06:59:24 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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