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

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