I know sportsmen and women don’t like to lose, but I see the Wallabies loss to the All Blacks in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup Final as an honourable loss. Not only was it against a champion team, but the Wallabies’ quality and potential were evident throughout the tournament, as was their never-say-die attitude and improvement each game.
Congratulations to all at the ARU but especially coach, Michael Cheika and his staff, and all the playing squad who showed that they are #StrongerAsOne. SKINS is proud to be a part of the Wallabies family.
It was a deserved win from the All Blacks who were just too good, too strong, too fast, too skilled. They are a credit to themselves, to their sport and their nation.
New Zealand may only be a country of 4.5 million people, but they are one of the strongest country ‘brands’ that I can think of around the world. Just as New Zealand is known as #PureNewZealand, the All Blacks embody all that we value in sport as pure competition.
Unlike some people in Australia who found Aussie Rules player, Adam Goodes’ tribal dance as offensive, the traditional Maori Haka is embraced, revered and celebrated in New Zealand. You don’t see All Blacks players on page 1 of tabloid newspaper urinating in bars. You don’t hear about them cheating on drugs tests. When Ben Smith was sent off for 10 minutes in the second half, he didn’t remonstrate with the referee. He took it on the chin and got on with it. At the end of the match, the camaraderie and sportsmanship between both the teams, from Steve Hansen and Cheika down, were clear to see. Sonny Bill Williams gave his World Cup Rugby Final medal to a young boy who ran on to the field after the game to get an autograph, who was tackled by a security guard.
When a ‘Kiwi’ anywhere in the world dons a black jersey with the famous silver fern, you know straight away where they’re from and what they stand for. They reflect the All Blacks, who are truly the national team, and their wonderful culture that is based on shared values, inclusiveness, discipline, teamwork and pure competition and which results in outstanding performances on the field.
I can’t help but contrast the All Blacks’ culture with that of FIFA. The more that things unravel in FIFA, the more we learn just how corrupt the FIFA ‘enterprise’ is, and how far-reaching it is in terms of personnel and geography.
I don’t think the revelations about FIFA are going to end anytime soon, and the longer it goes on, the more the sport’s own governing body is bringing their sport into disrepute. Until and unless there is a seismic shift in its governance and its culture – by way of an independent, time-limited FIFA Reform Commission led by an eminent person – world football administration will continue to represent the very worst of greed, mendacity and human nature.
Thank heavens for the All Blacks – who remind us of what sport should be and why we love it.