Lessons from Japan’s Win in the Rugby World Cup

When Japan beat South Africa I went back to my notes of Eddie Jones presentation at Global Coaches House in London 2012 during the Olympic games. In that presentation he detailed out exactly what their plan was and how they would execute it. It has been very interesting to watch their progress over the last three years as they worked the plan. It all came to fruition on Saturday with the win over South Africa. It was not a fluke win it was by design a combination of leadership with a clear vision and a deep understanding of Japanese culture and how to use that to their advantage.

  • Lesson One – That is why you play the game! Never believe what the pundits and so-called experts say.
  • Lesson Two – Get out of the gym, the weight room is only part of an extensive physical preparation process, it is not everything. You must be fit for the game to play 80 minutes. Strength you can use and the ability to move are paramount.
  • Lesson Three – Go outside your sport to learn – Eddies Jones spend a day with Pep Guardiola this past year. I met with Eddie for an intense discussion in 2007 in Brisbane, we never once talked about rugby, we talked about other sports and organizations.
  • Lesson Four – Be a learning organization & apply what you have learned – Eddies Jones sets the example, he is constantly learning and improving, the same can be said for John Pryor their Athletic Development coach. They made extensive use of experts like Dean Benton and Frans Bosch.
  • Lesson Five – You play the way you practice – They made practical use of tactical periodization concepts. Practices were high tempo and high intensity.
  • Lesson Six – Play your game – They were aware of their physical limitations and strengths so they designed a style of play that accentuated their strengths.
  • Lesson Seven – It’s not strength & conditioning it is Athletic Development – I know John Pryor’s philosophy having spent extended periods of time with him over the years. He has an deep background in the sprints, Aussie Rules Football, martial arts and sports science. He understands how the pieces of the athletic puzzle must be assembled.
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  1. […] going on, I have found that the sport is a great place to learn from. For example a few weeks ago, Vern pointed out some lessons we can learn from Japan’s historic upset of South Africa. Keir Wenhamm-Flatt is another person in the sport to learn from and hosts a great blog and […]

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