In revealing their new shirt for the Rugby World Cup on Monday, with the 2019 All Blacks new squad about to be announced on Tuesday, new goals are being chosen by the World Champions. Goals that could see them re-write the record books.
Already the first rugby team to win back-to-back World Cups, the 2019 All Blacks ultimate goal is to become the only side to win three Cups in a row. That would place them on a level above Brazil and Italy; back-to-back Football World Cup winners. That might put them in the league of the Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers NBL teams, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari F1 teams and other major sports teams who have won three championships in a row.
But, the New Zealand rugby team must not get ahead of themselves. Steps on that journey must be small. The first being the release of a new RWC shirt designed by famed artist Yohji Yamamoto (see main image), that generated much press and publicity. Then on Tuesday, July 2, another step is the announcement of the squad that will challenge for The Rugby Championship.
Taking small steps, and by achieving those, in measuring your successes or failures in the process, is how the best sides in world sport succeed.
That is not made by players simply wearing a new shirt, it is in the minute detail and thorough planning. Training now, but also in the foundation camps throughout the year, and by established systems. And the 2019 All Blacks must do that better than all other side this year, if they wish to raise the Webb Ellis Cup for the fourth time.
New Shirt; New Squad; New Goals – 2019 All Blacks
History and their ranking are components, that allows a side to be competitive, For a club or a franchise team, that often needs to be manufactured in a busy sports market or league. For the 2019 All Blacks, they are fortunate to always hold a higher place in sports fans regard.
One where an 80% winning record means they are often successful in many competitions and tests that others fail at. Yet setbacks over the past two years; including the loss to the 2017 British and Irish Lions side, are experiences that have to be learned from. Lessons that have to be used to improve upon, otherwise, they may be experienced again.
For the players who are to be named in the forthcoming 2019 All Blacks squad, they are all aware of the recent setbacks. Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and the Lions, have all defeated the World Champions. While for most, that is not a barrier to success, for elite sides like Saracens or Leinster, every defeat on the rugby field must be learned from.
Steve Hansen, in his final term as All Blacks head coach, will wish that his assembled team have the qualities to retain their past success rate, and learn from all situations. If not, to improve on discipline as well as self-belief in their abilities.
And like every coach of any International quality side, the ideal is to win every game.
2019 All Blacks squad must aim for new Supremacy
Some will say, ‘you have to go into any season with ambition but, also be realistic’. That being smug, or cocky, is a failing. However, confidence must be at the maximum level, to be effective. So if the All Blacks under Steve Hansen’s tenure has been seen as being smug in the past, the lessons learned from those losses might naturally see them as ‘less than 100% confident’.
Hardly. The reality is that the winningest side in Rugby World Cup history, the team with six out of seven Rugby Championship titles, can only be successful when full of confidence. They have dominated the Southern Hemisphere competition, and to demonstrate their form ahead of the World Cup, must put on a supreme display.
High performance is in the team’s culture, a thread in the story of the side, and what fans naturally believe.
And belief is what will drive the team in The Rugby Championship. A belief that they have the ammunition and player firepower to challenge Australia, South Africa, and the bolstered Argentine team. With the Jaguares playing at a new level of confidence, the opening clash of this year’s Championship, will be evidence that the home side is going to challenge at the Rugby World Cup to be hosted by Japan in September and October.
@SanzarTRC begins on July 20.
For the hosts & visiting teams, this is the 1st step on the journey to #RWC2019
Best not to get too far ahead of yourself now, but with each training, each game, & recovery session, all steps on the Road to Japan #gohardorgohome#rugbyunited pic.twitter.com/2phH57x7nP
— #RugbyNewZealand (@RugbyNZ_) July 1, 2019
41 players to be named by All Blacks
Naming the squad on Tuesday night, head coach Steve Hansen, assistant coach Ian Foster and selector Grant Fox will reveal the men who will take the steps toward Japan. That will include established stars, current skipper Kieran Read, and may include names new to the group.
Sevu Reece has thrown down the gauntlet, in scoring more tries, and in exciting fans around the world. His story is one of opportunism; when an of the field family violence conviction could have ended his professional career. Given respite, the young man grasped it and he might pressure the selectors to add his name – as they did for Nehe Milner-Skudder, in 2015.
Braydon Ennor also proved to be an outside back who has to all-round skillset that the All Blacks have elected in the past. In the mold of Ben Smith or Leon MacDonald, Ennor could be an option who might impress in the later rounds of the Championship, or the Bledisloe Cup test against Australia on August 18.
The size of the group means that multiple players can be included for each position. Many combinations could make-up the 41 players, with the size of the group allowing space to include several new names.
Brad Weber is the form halfback for 2019. Aaron Smith is singing his praises, and the selectors reelect the one Test All Black to put pressure on Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi. The same can be said of Asafo Aumua, Jackson Hemopo, George Bridge and other 2018 players, who can challenge for starting places. Take their opportunities.
Internal pressure will be key to maintaining high standards. Opportunity will keep the players ‘on their toes’. To be ready for The Rugby Championship, the Bledisloe Cup and the additional test against Tonga in September.
the right steps on the team’s road to rwc 2019 Japan.
Do that, and this 2019 All Blacks side will be on the right pathway. A direction which former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw explained in an interview with NZME. “It’s just about being able to execute when those opportunities come. If you do that for three weekends in a row, you’ll be in for a pretty good shout”.
Take it from Richie. A two-time world champion who left the jersey in a better place than he found it. And even while a new RWC designed shirt and new squad are exciting, it will be the effort made on the field, that can transfer goals into reality for the 2019 All Blacks.
The 2019 All Blacks Squad is announced at 7pm (NZT) live on SkySport and RadioSport.
“Main photo credit”
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