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Success Lessons From The 2007 Rugby Union World Cup Part 5 – Stay Enthusiastic Even If You Lose
Rugby, like all sports, can teach anyone how to succeed and how not to succeed! It’s full of key success lessons for those who love the game and those who don’t. France showed the rugby world how not to have competitive success in their world cup opener against Argentina. They made mistakes early on which gave their opponents the confidence they needed to win.
Successful competitors can gain strength, confidence and knowledge from other people’s mistakes! They also learn how to limit and correct their own mistakes so that they do not encourage the opposition.
The French team have been killed in their papers since their defeat. Eight percent of the French nation watched the game and the roof fell in when they lost. Even their sports psychologist had to go to therapy! The President of the French Rugby Union said that the team betrayed the nation by losing to Argentina! Thomas Castaignede, the French member of the English ITV commentary team, said:
“Let’s forget what has happened and play with enthusiasm and passion.”
Anyone who can act with enthusiasm and passion after a massive failure is a success whether they get any good results or not. Enthusiasm and passion may not mean you win, but they help!
Against Namibia, the French team put things right. Twelve players had been replaced and star player Michalak was back. Thomas said:
“He has a ‘je ne sais quoi’. With him something is always happening”
Successful people make things happen. They don’t wait for someone else to get things going. Just one talented person who is going to have a magic or ‘je ne sais quoi’ can make a huge difference to the success or failure of any group.
Something good happened, finally, in France’s second game. They joined their own world cup party and played with style and swagger.
They still made some of the mistakes that had given Argentina the belief to win last week. However, they have now started to play the fast, creative rugby that the French are famous for.
Thirteen tries were scored as France dominated the game. The great French hero, Chabal, also known as Caveman or Rasputin, began to show his power.
One Namibian was sent off after twenty minutes for a high tackle on Chabal when the score was 12-3. France scored soon after. 19-3 to France.
The game went flat for about 25 minutes and then France scored after an obvious forward pass that was not marked by the referee. Some parts of life are unfair. The successful get over it and get on with it! Namibia did it.
Then France scored again. The French player showed his passion on his face after he scored. He had had a chance to play and scored. Successful people seize their opportunities to shine.
At one point, Chabal, the caveman, came through the middle of the Namibian pack with hair everywhere. South African legend Francois Pienaar later said:
“He has the speed the power and the hair I always wanted!”
The score at half time was 38-3 with a little help from the referee. The French received a standing ovation as they went in with six tries under their belts.
The second half started with France trying more of the same. The Namibians, with only fourteen men, did some desperate tackling. Poitrenau made two side steps to the left and then one to the right off his left foot as if to say: “I can do it with my left foot too!”
Successful people try to keep improving even if it’s just to make the left side of their body as strong and agile as their right hand or vice versa if they are left handed. It is even more important to develop both sides of the brain. A success skill like mind mapping is worth learning. It develops the right brain and multiplies brain power by a factor of about five.
France’s forwards and backs both contributed. France celebrated a push over try. 47-3.
There was a great pass and a cross field kick for the ‘caveman’ who scored. 52-3. The Namibians are probably thinking: “How much time to go?”
Defense wins games but nobody could stop Chabal as he ran about fifty meters through one tackler after another until he scored on the right wing. Will Greenwood said: “You have to admire the power and the brute force. The girls admire Michalak and Wilkinson but there has to be something about him that they can admire.”
Thomas Castaignede said: “Chabal is a hero in France. Maybe now he will be the vice president!”
The French Manager, Bernard Laporte, sat in the stands with his laptop and chewing gum looking like a little Asterix controlling the giant Gauls. Asterix took Chabal off this point before he could score his third try. Vincent Clerc scored instead. 75-3.
The crowd that came nervously to the Stade Municipal felt more at one with life according to one of the commentators. A Mexican wave went around the stadium. Vincent Clerc scored a hat trick in his hometown.
In the end France drove over the line for their 13th try as Ibanez scored. 87-3. The French were shouting and singing the Marseillaise. An interception gave Namibia a try and the French sports crowd rose to support them. The conversion took Namibia into double figures. 87 -10
Greenwood said: “The French team were riotous and entertaining and they have a bit of belief back. You have to believe you can win the cup.”
Teams who say and believe they can’t win the cup will prove themselves right. Dr Robert Anthony has summed up the power of belief in your own limitations: “Pronounce your limitations strongly enough and they are you.”
For Namibia there was pride; for France’s points and posture and the highest score ever in the world cup. Ibanez, the French catcher and captain, said: “We improved a lot. We had a huge disappointment last Friday. We had to face the front during the whole week and we worked hard.”
Successful people face their weaknesses and work hard to overcome them. They do not hide and do nothing to improve. England also had to face and work very hard after being humiliated by South Africa. They did just that against Samoa in Nantes. Defeat to Nantes could spell the end for either team.
Martin Johnson said: “We have to have more energy and more enthusiasm than those guys today.”
England now came alive against Samoa and won quite easily thanks to the kicking of the legendary Jonny Wilkinson. Paul Sackey did well on the wing for England. The final score was 44-22
England played rugby against Samoa. Now they face Tonga who beat Samoa. Was England’s world cup finally underway? Will Greenwood, who was being interviewed in a town square, believed that the reason for England’s recent success was:
“Small steps, small and often. Continue to improve at the rate we’re doing; then we have a sniff. We have a sniff of taking on Australia in Marseilles. After last week, that’s all we could hope for .”
“And we did it without running over!” he said the interviewer as a big coach came dangerously close as a huge Tongan back row forward
New Zealand played Scotland on Sunday, 24th September 2007. The All Blacks can only play one way – win and win big. They bring their best team to every game.
Scotland accepted a likely defeat resting some of their best players to be ready to face the team that would play them after the All Blacks. The match began with an unusual haka performed with enormous intensity. It ended 40-0 with Scotland struggling defensively to the bitter end.
On Tuesday 25 September, Japan and Canada drew 12 -12 in a nail biter. The Japanese scored 7 points in extra time because they never gave up.
On the same day Portugal played Romania. The oldest Portuguese player at 34 scored the first try which was converted 7-0. Age should not be an automatic barrier to achievement.
The side without the bran was on top to begin with. However, in the end, the power of the Romanian heavyweight team told and Romania won the match 14 to 10 Portugal.
On Wednesday, September 26th, Georgia defeated Namibia 30-0. It was Georgia’s first win in any rugby world cup. Georgia was physically and mentally strong and meant business.
One hard tackle led to one of their tries. The Namibian ball carrier was hit so hard by the Georgian that the ball popped into the air and was picked up by another Georgian who ran on to score a try.
Success often means doing one thing so well that the next success follows quite naturally as a result of taking the first step effectively.
There was another match on Wednesday between Samoa and the USA. The Samoans were winning easily by half time. However, the Americans were not content to just absorb punishment and take the attack to the Samoans. They gradually caught up and almost won the game but time ran out.
The Samoans won 25-21.
What success lessons can we learn from the games above?
Successful competitors often gain strength, confidence and knowledge from their opponents’ mistakes! They learn how to limit and correct their own mistakes so that they do not give confidence to the other side.
Anyone who can act with enthusiasm and passion after a massive failure is a success whether they get any good results or not. Enthusiasm and passion may not mean they win their competitions in the future, but they can only help!
Successful people make things happen. Just one talented person who is going to have a magic or ‘je ne sais quoi’ can make a huge difference to the success or failure of any group.
Some parts of life are unfair. The successful get over it and get on with it!
Successful people try to keep improving even if it’s just to make the left side of their body as strong and agile as their right hand or vice versa if they are left handed. It is even more important to develop both sides of the brain by, for example, learning how to mind map.
Successful people face their weaknesses and work hard to overcome them. They do not hide and do nothing to improve. They also realize that they have to have more energy and more enthusiasm than their competitors.
Successful people often improve by taking one small step at a time.
Success often means doing one thing so well that the next success follows easily as a result of taking the first step seriously. Create a great product and it will be easy to sell.
The main success lesson of this article could be summed up in the words of Winston Churchill:
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without losing enthusiasm.”
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