Japans performance at the RWC is no fluke.
They built their domestic competition on the back of foreign coaching expertise, mostly from New Zealand. They embraced the opportunity to develop their most promising young players by sending them to foreign fields – often New Zealand domestic club competitions. Japanese companies with representative rugby teams form sponsorship arrangements with New Zealand provinces, sub-contracting their coaching services and investing in their players to play and experience rugby club life in New Zealand.
The more progressive Japanese companies identify their players and coaches of the future and send them to an IRANZ High Performance course. This provides an expansive foundation they never forget.
For example, I received an email just this week from Shoji Ito who attended IRANZ HPC in 2004.
“I am a rugby coach at Kyoto Sangyo University. When I was a rugby player, I learned a lot in IRANZ. After that, I am proud that I became a Japan national team member and participated in the World Cup 2015. In the future, I would like to make an effort to give students the same experience.”
If you are a young player or coach and want to achieve at your highest level, you need a well thought out plan. Where are your strengths? What are your weaknesses and how can you improve in these areas – and others you haven’t thought about yet? This reminds me of one of my favourite sayings:
“There is no point in running if you are on the wrong road.”