The Sun (Malaysia)

Discoverin­g how NZ dominate rugby worldwide


AUSTRALIA didn’t really stand a chance. They were up against statistica­lly the most successful sporting team in human history. New Zealand’s rugby team has a win rate over the past 100 years of more than 75 per cent, and with their World Cup victory on Oct 31 they have become an inspiratio­n for businesses and individual­s off the pitch, too.

The All Blacks’ 34-17 win at Twickenham meant they became the first team to retain the trophy. It was their third win, starting in 1987 when they won the inaugural tournament on home soil. The other teams to have been champions are Australia and South Africa (both twice), and England.

But go back to 2004 and things were not looking so good for New Zealand. Results were slipping and the men in black had just come last in the Tri Nations championsh­ip, suffering the indignity of coming below South Africa as well as local rivals Australia.

The situation was so grim that venerated captain Tana Umuga was threatenin­g to quit and a drinking culture had penetrated the squad. Then something changed.

As detailed by James Kerr’s book on the winning culture of New Zealand rugby, Legacy, the cornerston­e of the team’s recent success under coach Graham Henry and now Steve Hansen, is a simple mantra: “Better people make better All Blacks.”

And since that mindset change, the tiny island in the south-west Pacific with a population of just 4.5 million people has again dominated world rugby and become an inspiratio­n for all those seeking managerial and performanc­e success.

“Anybody who is looking to get stuff done and gain competitiv­e advantage in what they do, whether as an individual or as a business, surely has to look at the example of the All Blacks,” Kerr said yesterday.

“After a crisis they rebooted their culture and they started with values and getting the base right with the essential idea of being a good person and becoming self-sufficient.”

Kerr’s book, which saw him spend five weeks following the team in 2010, studied the spiritual and practical foundation­s of the country’s re-emergence as rugby’s dominate nation. In it, he suggests 15 lessons the rest of us can learn from the mighty New Zealanders.

He admits that this management speak can sound “pink and fluffy” but that the All Blacks’ transforma­tion is based in a “very powerful sense of being a team” and “forming a close community” that is determined to leave the “jersey in a better place”. – The Independen­t

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