Kevin Roberts gives his view on what it takes to be the number one side in the world.
Steve Hansen, Grant Fox, Kieran Read and co know exactly what it takes to be number one. And they demonstrate it, not once in a while, but all the time. They know their ABC’s...’
NOT a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.
“There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place.
“Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organisation – an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win – to beat the other guy.
“It is a reality of life that men are competitive, and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there – to compete. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules – but to win.
“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour – his greatest fulfilment to all he holds dear – is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”
So said Time magazine’s coach of the century, the great Vince Lombardi.
I was reminded of Lombardi’s writing on the last Saturday in August in the Blu Blu Lounge in Mykonos where I was watching the live transmission of the second Bledisloe Cup game.
The bar was buzzing. Smack in the old port, next to the Archaeological Museum, an amazing panoramic view of Mykonos town, the windmills, the old port and Delos Island.
Full of locals, ouzo, cigarette smoke, tourists on the town, a separate internet café, and right at the back of the bar, next to the carpark, eight Kiwis, a big screen and the Rugby Championship.
And the All Blacks bringing Lombardi’s beliefs to life.
Steve Hansen, Grant Fox, Kieran Read and co know exactly what it takes to be number one. And they demonstrate it, not once in a while, but all the time. They know their ABC’s – Ambition, Belief and Courage.
I don’t know how you felt, but in the Blu Blu Lounge, eight of us weren’t fazed at 17-nil, and continued to believe, even as the Wallabies were celebrating when they hit the lead with four minutes to go.
The All Blacks believed – kick-off, win the ball, go for the gap, keep it simple, trust your mate, be accurate, at speed – score. Brilliant.
Victorious. This team may not be the best ever – I believe Richie McCaw’s 2015 vintage would have buried the Lions – but they are certainly number one in the world – despite Eddie Jones’ growing English threat – and winning has become a habit.
[As Lombardi says, “Winning is a habit. So is losing.” And this crop of Wallabies have that mental monkey to shift when they play the All Blacks].
At the heart of this team is mental
toughness. Look how they bounce back from adversity, how they overcame Sonny Bill Williams’s second-test red card and got into position for an impossible win.
Look how many times in the last 10 minutes they have dug in, believed in themselves and fronted up to win.
Mental toughness is two words. Mental. Toughness. In 64 Shots –
Leadership in a Crazy World, I wrote about what you need to win in both areas. Mentally you need to practise the five Cs: Confidence Concentration Composure Control Completion Consider the All Blacks versus Ireland and Australia – trailing, time running out, follow the five Cs, score a try, win. And Toughness – the five Ps: Practice Precision Problem solving Positivity Performance The All Blacks in spades. And – if you watched the Women’s World Cup final – the Black Ferns too were tougher mentally than the superhyped English.
A good time to celebrate both our teams being number one in the world.
The All Blacks never stopped believing in themselves, which is why they beat the Wallabies in Dunedin. ALWAYS BELIEVE