Aus belief makes them best

No one player can win the game for you, says rugby coach Kevin Musikanth, but what the Aussies have identified is that a single player can lose a match for you.

The comeback from the dead and buried Rebels, 31-7 at half time, and 34-14 with 18 minutes to go, was impressive. It takes a special group of individuals to be able to come back and not only make it a contest but to win. But this is typical of Australian sport.

A result that went the other way was the first Ashes test, but Australia were dead and buried twice, yet they put themselves in a position to win, coming short by a mere 14 runs in the end. Another team would have lost by more. It teaches us the beauty and competitiveness of team sport and where we can slot in.

What is it that makes the Australians play to the death and end up winning more often than not? This is truly a belief system that has been instilled in the Aussie psyche. Never mind the fact that the Rebels ended up winning the close encounter, they still had the presence of mind to acknowledge their long serving captain Gareth Delve at the end by allowing the number 8 the honour of attempting the conversion. Typical Aussie swagger. They just have this presence of mind at all times – they are simply in it, no matter what.

Love them or hate them, you have to respect this. The have intelligence and a point blank refusal to ever believe that they are out of the game when most other teams would probably stop playing. And no doubt the Rebels had the savvy to remind the Highlanders about how they had let the Hurricanes come back from a big deficit the week before. Always in with the mental game.

Take the Lions tour – each Lion a head taller than his opponent and 10 kg’s heavier, yet Australia were in it until the dam wall broke in the third Test. Give an Australian sportsman half a sniff and the intellectual chirp, the never say die /dog attitude and competitor comes out. At the end of the day there can be only one winner and an Australian sportsman will always respond with 100%.

Added to their commitment is that ultimate personal belief that they have. It is something that all Australians buy into. That nurture, full backing and responsiveness to talent and the principles that although sport is played unemotionally, in other words sport doesn’t know what goes on behind the scenes, whether relationships are broken, or someone has died, or there are problems outside of the game, sport gets played irrespective of that, the Aussies understand this and they back the person that plays the sport.

Typically they have the philosophy that everybody plays better when someone believes in them, so the Aussies believe in each other. The understanding of Australian culture teaches us that no matter what, the person plays and to understand and recognize the person and the frailties that each and every person has and the nurture that is required to get each individual to be as true to their talent as possible. This gives them the competitive edge and makes them pound for pound the best sporting nation in the world.

Aussies understand the limitations that they may have in each and every team and acknowledge the human element that exists and they enable their players to tap into that swag with a savvy approach, banter, chirp, rough up or whatever it takes to give themselves in an opportunity to win.

That’s all that sport really teaches us. When you run onto the field as a team you get a 50% chance on a result. The pitch and toss of black or red competing to win or lose, but competing, that is the secret. Believing and never giving up, because it is not over until it is over. Ask an Australian sportsman – they will tell you.

No one player can win the game for you, but what the Aussies have identified is that a player can lose a match for you. So they back their players to play allow them to make a decisions and give them responsibility. If you are playing against them and you are the player that may lose it for your team, they will find you.

No one player can win a game. A team wins the game. The player plays, and the team wins. Aussies respect this and realize that they can win or they can lose, but no matter what, they will compete to the death.

Kevin is currently the Director of Rugby at UCT and Wynberg High, the WP Amateur teams Assistant Coach, having previous been the Head Coach at False Bay RFC. Kevin owns and runs a Gym business called Body Excel which has been in operation since 1997.