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Picking your Captain

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Picking your Captain Empty Picking your Captain

Post by thebandwagonsociety Mon 31 Jan 2022, 2:22 pm

An interesting snippet from an article today;

"Indeed it is 44-years since an outhalf led their country to a clean sweep of wins in the tournament and that honour belonged to Phil Bennett in the 1978 Five Nations. Wales’ new captain in the absence of the injured Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Biggar would love to bridge that gap as would Ireland’s Johnny Sexton."

Amazed that it would be all the way back in 1978. It raises some questions, what are the traits that you need in your captain? are there aspects of players position that improves/demises their impact as a captain?

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Post by Poorfour Mon 31 Jan 2022, 4:56 pm

I can almost wholeheartedly recommend Sam Walker's The Captain Class.

He studied teams that had long periods of success, looking for what differentiated them, and the only consistent finding was that they had a captain who set the tone for the team.

The book is a collection of case studies that all tell a very similar story. The captain wasn't necessarily the best player or the best speechmaker, but was someone who led by hard example - working harder for the team, doing more off the pitch and being prepared to take a hit for the team if hat was needed.

Why the "almost" up there? Because of what he omits. Reading the book, I was expecting there to be a chapter, in among the footballers, basketballers and ice hockey players, on the captain who arguably most completely exemplifies what the book is talking about and inarguably has the best sustained win/loss ratio as captain in international sport. But Richie McCaw is mentioned in passing in a couple of paragraphs. It's a bizarre omission.

Anyway, if you take the criterion of being prepared to put the work in and take one for the team, it explains why so many captains are drawn from the pack, especially locks and flankers. It looks like Lawes or Itoje will be England's captain for the 6N, depending on fitness, and I am very happy with either.
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Post by doctor_grey Mon 31 Jan 2022, 5:46 pm

I think leadership is one of thise things which can be easy or hard to describe, but one generally recognises a leader when they see one. Kind of like art.

Looking at RWC winning captains we have a front row, second rows, back rows (one frequently offside), and scrum halves. Clearly THIS is the one and only reason England lost to the Boks in the last RWC......

DAVID KIRK, NEW ZEALAND 1987, scrum half
NICK FARR-JONES, AUSTRALIA 1991, scrum half
FRANCOIS PIENAAR, SOUTH AFRICA 1995, flanker
JOHN EALES, AUSTRALIA 1999, lock
MARTIN JOHNSON, ENGLAND 2003, lock
JOHN SMIT, SOUTH AFRICA 2007, hooker
RICHIE MCCAW, NEW ZEALAND 2011, flanker
RICHIE MCCAW, NEW ZEALAND 2015, flanker
SIYA KOLISI, SOUTH AFRICA 2019, flanker

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