We drove all the way to Heidelberg to watch this important qualifier!
We perhaps think of goalsetting as “I want to pass better/longer” and that is okay, but where does it start? The first question to ask is where do I want to be: for us in the Netherlands it is “Play in the Rugby World Cup” (men) and play in “World Series Sevens” (women).
So, how to get in the Rugby World Cup? For the 2019 this translated into:
- beat Portugal
- then beat Germany
- then play Samoa home and away for a spot in the RWC
(I know, there was a bit of a thing involving Romanians, Spain and Belgium, but this all put Germany in the spot where any of these countries would have ended).
In other words, when we would have won “only” four games we would have achieved our goal. We lost to Portugal, who lost to Germany who lost big in Samoa. Of course I had to be Heidelberg for the home game and see how far we are away from this “only four games to win” goal.
Well, Germany lead for a couple times in the game but Samoa was never in danger to lose the overall lead and won the game in the end and qualified for #RWC2019.
Okay, we have established our goal and we need to beat Samoa to earn our spot. Next question is to find out what Samoa is doing. All the stuff that Samoa is doing, we should at least be doing too!
Wikipedia tells us this:
There are 12 provincial unions made up of around 120 clubs and boasting nearly 5,000 senior and twice as many junior players in a country with a population of just under 175,000 people.
- Samoa: twelve regions, 120 clubs, 5.000 senior members, 10.000 junior member, pop. 175.000 (9% of population plays rugby)
- Germany: 14.304 Mitglieder in 124 Vereinen, pop. 83.000.000 (0,02%)
- Netherlands: five regions, 100 clubs, 12.000 members (est. 6.000 junior members) , pop. of 17.000.000 (0,01%)
Some research (good to know Desmond Tuiavii, Ck Mau Simeona and Dieter Hanf):
- Samoa: Only one player is in the domestic competition. All players are Samoan. A lot of the team grew up in Auckland and Wellington and played in the New Zealand domestic competitions;
- Germany: most of the German team play in the German competition. About 50% of the German team are not Germans, but they qualify to play for Germany based on the World Rugby residency rules. All play in German competition;
- Some Dutch players are playing abroad, most of them in the domestic competition, 30% are not Dutch.
What do we (my union) have to do?
- Bigger is better: we need to develop our bigger players and bring them up better. Eye-opener? not sure but we seem to select the more skilled before the bigger less skilled. Also, with our special talent development program that start at 13 years (!) we have a window of opportunity to prepare our athletes bodies to do the hard work later on. We need to optimise this unique opportunity better.
- Tactically: I am guessing the amount of time with the ball was pretty even for both teams, but Samoa was more effective when they had the ball. Can we bring this intensity in our competitions? Surely a task for us coaches.
- Fitness: the proud German team kept up with the Samoans till the last ten minutes, then it was all over.
- Play in the Netherlands or abroad? We focus a lot on our Ereklasse structure in the Netherlands, better to just sent our players abroad (NZLD domestic?) and organise this.
- Or get better foreigners who were brought up the NZLD domestic competition too. Have them play longer and qualify to play for the Netherlands?
Be more physical in our development of our players, we are big people in the Netherlands, capitalise on this for sure. Samoa is not to worried about players going away, perhaps because they all do?
Personally: work hard to facilitate this through my software tool SuperCoach Online and make it easier for those coaches using it.
Although I am not involved in the Elite & Development programs anymore I felt it was important to go and watch the game, great to challenge myself in thinking what should or could be!
What do you think, how far is your country away from making it to the RWC? Or would your National team beat Samoa all the time?