Roles and Responsibilities.

A great coach and mentor once said to me that rugby was all about ‘roles and responsibilities’.

If players understand what their role is and what their responsibility on the pitch it is to do, then generally you have a winning team.

The same could easily be applied to life in general.

To be successful as a mother or father, a work colleague or boss, a friend, a husband or wife, it is all about understanding your roles and responsibilities.

When an area of our lives isn’t quite going according to plan, generally, it comes down to losing sight of our roles and not carrying out our responsibilities.

Keeping a clear head isn’t always easy to do – in the last couple of minutes of a close scoring rugby match, in the strain of a busy day, in the midst of an argument – but if we can be much more mindful of our roles and responsibilities then we might make better decisions more often.

If you are not clear on your roles and responsibilities take the time to gain that clarity.

Sometimes that isn’t an easy thing to do.

After the their exit from the 2007 World Cup, the All Blacks began this process.

It was a painful process.

Today they are the most successful team, in terms of percentage of matches won and lost, in International Rugby.

Most people/teams begin their reviews after it all goes wrong.

Get ahead of the curve and review your roles and responsibilities now.

England’s Blame Game.

The quarter-finals are all set for the Rugby World Cup 2015.

Some teams are through and some are not.

Those who are not seem to have borne it with good grace.

Except for one team that is.


The rugby news is still inundated with pundits, players and coaches (old and current), all insisting this has to be the end of the road for Head Coach Stuart Lancaster.


Because England are the first host nation who have gone out at the pool stage.

But then again no other world cup competition had four top ten seeds in the same pool.

Because England lost to Wales.

Historically, England have won just one more match than Wales in these encounters and recently the venue doesn’t seem to matter too much.

Because England lost to Australia.

Australia have won the World Cup twice to England’s once. Since 1909 they have played each other 44 times, with Australia leading 25 wins to 18 for England.

Maybe they shouldn’t be too surprised.

Of course this is all Stuart Lancaster’s fault. He’s the Head Coach so the book stops with him.

If the defeat by Wales was so humiliating, as it seems to be by the amount of column inches being given to it in the call for Lancaster’s head, who gave away all those penalties which Dan Biggar slotted between the uprights?

If the nation needs a head to justify England’s exit from the World Cup then just make sure it is the right one.

The Real Tragedy of England Exiting the World Cup.

The real tragedy of England exiting the World Cup isn’t what you are going to read about and see in the media.

It won’t be because of the five penalties in the scrum.

It won’t be because of the yellow card given to Owen Farrell.

It won’t even be because of the choice to go for the corner and not the kick for a draw against Wales.

(The real error there was going for the 2-ball).

The real tragedy will be the fact that everyone will continue to miss the key to repeated poor performances by northern hemisphere sides in recent months/years.

The breakdown.

Guess what? Australia used to be poor in the scrum. So they fixed it. Now they can compete and win in this area.

England think their glory is in the set pieces and the contact area.

Australia caught up in the set pieces and overtook you in the contact area.

The fans/pundits/players think scrapping around on the floor proves their supremacy and nationhood.

Ten minutes watching Super 15s/Rugby Championship tells you that the breakdown is exactly that – a breakdown – the guy with the ball got tackled. So get the ball to a new guy and evade the defenders in the attempt of scoring a try.

Getting the ball away from the breakdown/ruck as quickly and cleanly as possible allows you to challenge the defensive line and find the cracks in your opponent’s armour. Scrapping around on the floor allows too much opportunity for turn-over/penalty/defence to recover and realign.

When the player with the ball uses his footwork to get between two defenders, don’t stand and watch him go to ground whilst the tacklers remain on their feet and contest for the ball, and then try and clear them out.

Get close to the guy with the ball and follow him through and take the tacklers out of the game by driving well beyond them and securing the ball to allow quick and clean ball away – as soon as possible before the defence can react.

Australia showed you the importance of this in the match tonight.

So follow their example. Get better at the breakdown.

England didn’t lose their quest for the World Cup because of the reasons you are going to read about.

They lost it due to not seeing the breakdown for what it really is.