And so England begin their Six Nations campaign with a defeat in France.
If England lose more games this season, it won’t be a complete surprise.
Big Cup Final losses take a toll. You can never be sure how long it takes for a side to reset and refocus. Just because England came close to lifting the Webb Ellis trophy, doesn’t automatically mean they are ready to go to the next level.
After a big final defeat, it’s not just the physical tank that is empty. The emotional well needs replenishing too. Mood. Feeling. Morale. Eddie Jones said that England felt sorry for themselves in the first half on Saturday. Thats a sign of a run-down emotional well.
An emotional well is built over time. What’s missing currently. is the feeling and connection that was there when they defeated the All Blacks. But such magic is elusive. It doesn’t come on demand.
Collective Magic comes when everything is in place. When all the parts are working, and a supreme focus is in play. This collectivity creates the feeling that the team have an additional player. It leads to more energy. More clarity. More of everything!
When it’s there you feel invincible. When it’s not there you wonder where it has gone. And how you will ever get it back.
Experience tells you that you have to work to re-connect to the Collective Magic when you lose it or it disperses. You start rebuilding the base platform, and reset the foundations. Knowing the feeling you are looking for.
But if you start to get anxious because the special feeling is elusive, then you have no chance of experiencing it again. Times like this call for calmness, patience and wisdom.
A single defeat or two tells you nothing. As long as you know what you are looking for, and what you need. That is why top teams and champions can win again and again.
They know the formula that leads to success. And how to re-connect back to it when they lose it. And also why some teams hit the heights once, and never do so again. They didn’t know the formula.
Experience is king, when a team needs to comeback from a World Cup final defeat. Experience in knowing the cycle of renewal, and not panicking when things move slowly. or questions start to get asked. For renewal has a timing of it’s own. And England are at the beginning of a new cycle.