Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In Black and White: Rugby Lessons To Learn From Jake's Book

We have some valuable insights into SA rugby through White's book, but will we live the lessons learned?

South Africa's losing streak in 2006 (including the shock 49-0 loss in Brisbane)came about because of unnecessary outside pressures and distractions on the team. How do you build a winning team?

1) Clarify contractual issues. Imagine how it would affect YOUR work performance, if, after each and every assignment, your job is up for review? Imagine if, having performed well, your boss keeps postponing meetings meant to clarify your future. Whilst the likes of Markgraaf believe this uncertainty is good, as it keeps you on your toes, some people are dedicated and have a work ethic that has them on their toes anyway, and hence - in this sense - the uncertainty approach is counterintuitive.
2) Manage the media. The likes of Dale Granger have done a disservice not only to SA rugby but to journalism. Twisting comments to sell newspapers adds pressure and distraction to the mix. Jake White may have made the mistake that when incorrect news was made, he did not instantly issue a correction. Perhaps a relationship with one consistent writer ought to be maintained, who is constantly updated on the true state of affairs (when reports go awry).
3) The media are co-conspirators. The media are part and parcel of South African rugby. Are they constructive towards the sport and the sportspeople or do they serve their own interests? Thus far, we've seen people climbing onto the bandwagon for their own interests and egos. That will have to change.
4) SARU Management ought to accountable to the public interest, which means serving the interests of sport (above and beyond their own interests). To this extent they are answerable to the ordinary shareholders whom the Springboks represent: the South African public, in whose name the national team plays
5) Rest is crucial to sustain long term performance. Long term success depends on resting key players for big games.

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