Success Lessons From The 2007 Rugby Union World Cup Part 2 – The Haka

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There are few new success lessons. Most people just need reminding of the ones they already know. One way to remind yourself is to see success laws applied in different environments like the different sporting environments.

Like most sports, rugby teaches success lessons which apply both to rugby and to life in general. The rugby union world cup started with a shock result when Argentina beat the hosts, France, on September 7th 2007.

Next day, Saturday 8th September, the New Zealand ‘All Blacks’ hammered the Italians in the next match of the competition. The score was 43 – 0 after only 30 minutes.

The All Blacks perform a ‘haka’ before their matches. Haka are sometimes thought of solely as war dances, but individual haka have different purposes which are not all related to war. Some are performed by women.

The hands, arms, legs, feet, voice, eyes, tongue and the body as a whole combine to express courage, annoyance, joy or other appropriate feelings.

The Haka is also about drawing strength from your ancestors and climbing the ladder to your dreams – nothing is impossible – you can achieve anything.

Many scots, or part scots as in my case, claim descent from a great ancestor, Robert the Bruce. We draw strength from his example.

He is famous for being ready to give up his fight for independence until he saw a spider who refused to give up trying to build his web in spite of many failures. Eventually, the spider succeeded and so did Robert.

I think of Robert the Bruce nearly every day and am reluctant to throw out spiders. My bathroom has quite a few spiders happily living there! My sister has just suggested that they would be better off outside where they could catch some food. She has a point!

The spiders provide a great role model for those who feel like giving up. Their perseverance and optimism in building their webs is legendary.

War haka, known as ‘peruperu’, were originally performed by warriors before a battle. These dances, accompanied by fierce, shouted chants show off the strength and ferocity of the warriors in order to frighten the opposition. This is the type of haka performed before rugby matches.

Most opposition rugby teams are tough men and are probably more intimidated by the reputation of the All Blacks than by their haka but they know they are in for a tough game and the performers of the haka end the ‘war dance’ in fighting mood ready to win the game and to demoralize their opponents. A popular haka, with the English translation follows below:

Ringa pakia

Uma tiraha

Turi whatia

Hope whai ake

Waewae takahia kia kino

Slap the hands against the thighs

Puff out the chest

Bend the knees

Let the hip follow

Stamp the feet as hard as you can.

Ka Mate! Ka Mate!

Ka Ora! Ka Ora!

Tenei te ta ngata puhuru huru

Nana nei i tiki mai

Whakawhiti te ra

A upane ka upane!

A upane kaupane whiti te ra!


It is death! It is death!

It is life! It is life!

This is the hairy person

Who caused the sun to shine

Keep abreast! Keep abreast

The rank! Hold fast!

Into the sun that shines!

Music, words and movement have been used for centuries to motivate humans to heroic efforts. It is no wonder that successful films like Waterloo, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and the Rocky series have inspiring sound tracks. Viewers walk out of the cinema feeling like heroes.

TV series like the Hornblower series have sound tracks that make you feel that all your dreams can come true. Movement has the same effect. It warms you up and makes your mind sharper, more confident and more successful.

The Italians found out swiftly how an inspired and heroic team plays rugby.

The All Blacks move fast and seize every opportunity. They are just as fast to block the chances that come the way of their opponents. Whenever Italy looked like scoring, two or three All Blacks were there ready to tackle the Italian player holding the ball. Their defence is almost impregnable.

However, Italy intercepted a ball and Stanievic scored a try. The score was now 43 -7.

We have a crumb of comfort here for the English who have not been playing well since they became world champions in 2003. Stanievic was born in England and his parents run a hotel in Warwick!

“It’s seizing the moment is what it is!” said the New Zealand commentator, Murray Mexted.

“Anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it!” said an advertisement at half time.

Chris Jack, a lock forward, scored a try a few minutes after half time for New Zealand. He showed us a bit of a side step. “Who said locks could not sidestep?” said Murray as the score went to 50 -7. Too often players are stereotyped in rugby.

It has always been said, usually by the backs, that forwards cannot run fast with the ball. Teams, like the All Blacks, that ignore these false limitations usually win matches. The All Black forwards can run fast and can catch and pass the ball with great skill.

Italy contested the match vigorously as soon as they recovered from stage fright at playing the renowned All Blacks. You have to play the man and not the jersey.

Successful people are not intimidated by the reputation of a group or an individual whether they are the All Blacks or anybody else. Every human being has huge abilities wherever they come from.

Eight years ago in 1999, the All Blacks were defeated by France. France will have to repeat that performance next weekend in the quarter finals in Cardiff if they are to reach the semi-final.

Italy nearly reached the try line again but then the All Blacks scored instead.

The score was now 57 – 7. A try was next achieved by Jerry Collins for New Zealand. The score moved up to 62 – 7. Jerry then scored another try 69 – 7. Once you score a try you get a taste for it! Get some success and you want more.

Italy managed to score a second try from good old fashioned support play before the end of the match. Eventually New Zealand won 76 -14. They like to be way ahead of the competition and they make sure they are.

An All Black coach revealed one of their secrets. They get plenty of relaxation for both body and mind by sleeping and eating well and by doing sports they enjoy as well as rugby. Having plenty of sleep, good food, fun and relaxation is a key element in any success.

Australia also like to be well out in front. They are the most successful team in the rugby union world cup series. They beat an improving Japanese team by 91 – 3. Australia scored thirteen tries. The Japanese did not score any.

The great teams are not content to just win. They want to annihilate the competition and achieve almost impossible standards of excellence.

On Sunday 9th September in the Parc des Princes, South Africa, another favourite team to win the cup, beat Samoa 69 – 7.

Like the All Blacks, the Samoans perform a war dance which they call a ‘siva tau’ before their matches. During the dance the players feel like warriors ready to fight for their people and they carry this mindset into the rugby match.

The Samoan national rugby union team used to perform the traditional ‘Ma’ulu’ulu Moa’ on tour. Prior to the 1991 World Cup, the ‘Manu Siva Tau’ war chant was composed. It was considered to be more aggressive and effective in psyching the players up.

The Tongans also have a fearsome war dance and the Fijians, not wishing to be left out, now perform one of their own.

These war dances do not always bring victory except in the case of the All Blacks but, as suggested above, they probably mean that the teams performing them play with more fire and energy than they otherwise would.

I hope that, one day, South African may start their matches with a Zulu war dance. However, England should probably steer clear of doing a morris dance although some of these do have connections with sword fighting!

Rugby teams without war dances usually rely on their national anthems for inspiration. England also rely on the great spiritual, ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’.

South Africa play well, however, without a war dance and have won the world cup before. They believe, every time that the world cup takes place, that they can win it. They certainly started off well by defeating Samoa.

On Tuesday, England were hit with injuries and a suspension. None of them apart from the suspension came from the actual game of Rugby. Clive Ashton hinted that he wouldn’t have minded if the injuries had come from something serious like being kicked on the floor by ten forwards!

What success lessons can we learn from the above account?

We can use the power of movement and exercise to inspire us to achieve success in any field of human activity.

Roger Haeske has written an article about how exercise can make us wealthy! His view is that exercise makes us more energetic and productive and, therefore, more likely to make more money. I agree.

Drawing strength from the example of your ancestors whether they are Robert the Bruce or some one less famous but equally heroic.

Move fast and seize every opportunity that comes your way.

Too often players are stereotyped in rugby and in life in general. We need to ignore these stereotypes and find out for ourselves what we can do.

Successful people are not intimidated by the reputation of a group or an individual whether they are the All Blacks or anybody else.

Once you score a try you get a taste for it! Get some success and you will want more.

Get plenty of relaxation for both body and mind. Make sure that you have fun in some part of your

work and life at least.

Believe that you will win or succeed in whatever you are doing. This will increase your chances of success exponentially.

Don’t just strive to be a hero. Strive to be a super hero!

write by Nolan

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