Category Archives: Rugby Psychology

Rugby Psychology: England – Peaking!

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And so it was, that England’s momentous World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand, was the point they peaked. The supreme focus they created to beat the All Blacks, meant that they didn’t have another gear to find come finals day. Or, they didn’t know how to find that gear! Another view is that, the semi-final took them far enough… Read more »

Rugby Psychology: Eddie Jones – The Look!

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It was evident about ten minutes in. It’s The Look. A certain moment that can occur in major sporting events, when all the preparation you have done, condenses into a feeling. And shortly into England’s World Cup semi-final against The All Blacks, you could see it on head coach, Eddie Jones’s face. He was trying hard not to smile. England… Read more »

Rugby Psychology: Sebastien Vahaamahina – The Red Mist!

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And so Wales make it through to the World cup semi-final. Theres was a tough battle -hardened performance. Helped in no small measure by the sending off of French lock Sebastien Vahaamahina. The Frenchman’s brutal elbow on Aaron Wainwright probably cost his team the game. An unexpected act of madness in a quarter-final demanding discipline and clarity of mind and… Read more »

Rugby Psychology: Japan – A Powerful Cause!

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It began with an emotive national anthem. Always an early sign of the potential for a special performance. And then it continued with a blistering first half display that blew Scotland away. It ended with Japan qualifying for their first ever World Cup quarter-final. And with many critics opining that it was the best World Cup match they had ever… Read more »

Rugby Psychology: England – Fly Me To The Moon!

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When the late Brian Clough managed Nottingham Forest, he was prone to conduct unusual team-talks. For example, he would go into the dressing room pre-match and say. ‘Right Lads. Close your eyes’. Then Brian would take a song from the Frank Sinatra songbook, such as Fly Me To The Moon and sing it. To the team. On conclusion of the… Read more »

Rugby Psychology: England – Game Management!

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If the Rugby World Cup was a competition determined by the singing of the National Anthems, then England would surely be crowned champions. In the pre-match ceremony v Wales, the hosts belted out God Save The Queen with the nationalistic fervour of a team about to go to war. Loaded with emotion and heartfelt desire. Tapping into the hype and… Read more »

Sports Psychology: Martin Johnson – The Best Ex-Player!

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So Martin Johnson quits as England rugby coach. With a full review of England’s World Cup under-performance due, Johnson walked before he was inevitably pushed. But how did it come to this? How is it, that the only Englishman to lift the World Cup, should leave the international scene with his head bowed? It’s likely that his players will come… Read more »

Sports Psychology: England – Distractions!

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It’s quarter-finals week of the rugby World Cup. And England coach Martin Johnson is having to face down press questions about the off-field behaviour of some of his players. After Tindall’s late-night bar jaunt, we have Haskell, Ashton and Hartley in the dock for inappropriate comments to a female member of the hotel staff. It suggests that mentally, England are… Read more »

Rugby: Eddie O’Sullivan – What Might Have Been

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So Eddie O’Sullivan steps down as Ireland coach. First a disappointing World Cup campaign. Then a series of poor performances in the Six Nations. Somewhere along the way, the Irish team had stopped performing for their leader. Whilst O’Sullivan can look back on many successful sorties, his record will be blighted by a sense of what might have been. Talent,… Read more »

Rugby: Johnny Wilkinson – Take A Break

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So Johnny Wilkinson is dropped for only the second time in his career. This after being substituted during Saturday’s Calcutta Cup match at Murrayfield. Four years ago, Wilkinson carried the England team to World Cup glory. He was at the top of his game. The world’s best. But there was a price to pay for his herculean efforts. Injury followed… Read more »