Paul Harrison gives us his insight into how South African’s will quieten the Haka….. and beat the All Blacks in todays Rugby World Cup Semi Final
So, this weekend we face the All Blacks. What our coach, Heyneke Meyer calls “The Greatest Team to play the game”
We lost to Japan. South Africans were calling for Meyer’s head to roll. Talking about “too many old players in the team”… Suitable showings against Scotland, Samoa and USA quietened down some of those nay-sayers. SOME of them.
The All Blacks have been nothing short of clinical. They come from the same “rugby loving, win expecting” background as we do – anything less than a victory is not acceptable.
We take to the field as underdogs. David’s facing Goliaths. The heavy money amongst the rugby pundits favours NZ. We are going to be facing the adversity… and the doubt.
BUT WHAT ARE SOUTH AFRICAN’S IF WE ARE NOT PEOPLE WHO COME FROM ADVERSITY?
Our history, indeed our current situation in South Africa makes us LIVE with adversity EVERYDAY. Saffa’s immigrating to new lands to build another life in a foreign country, starting with nothing face MASSIVE ADVERSITY. We can relate to adversity. To having the odds against us. We are used to it. We embrace the challenges. We endure them ……… and overcome them. It’s our “way of life”… You KNOW what I mean.
On paper, both teams have players who are match winners in their own right. There is very little between the teams, man for man.
The kiwi’s play with the discipline and efficiency of a Special Forces elite military squad. They are ruthless and will punish ANY mistakes… but they are human. They are blood and bones. The same as us.
So what is it going to come down to? Part of it will be the team who shows up on the day. Who “CLICKS” and who “chokes”… That’s one element.
But there is something else…
But there is another, less tangible and quantifiable aspect of a national team’s success. It’s not something you can write a strategy for or something that you can buy. It’s something that pushes people to super human levels.
In a game that is going to come down to “victory by inches”, it can make ALL the difference.
It’s known as an “X-factor”, it’s known as “gees”. It’s something that can make complete strangers embrace and unify. It’s not something that you can see… but it’s something that you can feel.. It’s something we can just refer to as “Home Ground Advantage”. It’s something YOU have felt before.
Why does the home team always fancy their changes against a visitor? Why? The pitches are the same size. Made of grass – same all over the world. Marked with lime… no differences there.
So what is it that gives teams the edge over their competition at home? It’s the SUPPORTERS. It’s YOU. It’s ME. It’s that positive energy that our team feels when they are being willed to win by people who they don’t even know personally. It’s what gives our team that TINY bit more energy when they are exhausted beyond their limits. Whatever your thoughts are around interpersonal energies, It’s something hugely intangible and scientists can’t measure it…. But you can see the results. And if you can feel it, you have to believe it.
So what am I asking for here? I am asking for each and every South African to put down any cynicsm and get 1000% behind the Springboks – with everything you have. Put on your GREEN and GOLD. Wear it proudly in town. Acknowledge strangers who walk past you wearing theirs too. Just a nod. A wink. A smile…. Whatever. Make that contact…. And BELIEVE in ONE THING with everything you have – a Springbok victory.
We are people who come from adversity and challenges that many other nations will never truly understand… We have conquered these challenges before and we WILL do it again! 😉
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