It’s six days before the World Cup crunch match with Argentina and Irish centre Gordon D’Arcy is asked whether Ireland can score the four tries necessary for progression. ‘We have to believe we can’ he replies. Whilst this is reasonable comment, the notion of ‘having to believe’ doesn’t carry the same weight of power as a team who do believe.
Having to believe informs us that this team need to go on a mental and emotional journey to reach the state of belief from which they have to play. We have to believe doesn’t mean we will.
Belief is a state of mind forged from success. Forged from the confidence you have in the person next to you. Drawn from your own ability. It’s about the journey you have been on as a team and the obstacles you have overcome. Belief doesn’t come because you demand it. It’s a natural by-product of the way you think and feel.
It can be lost. But it can also be rekindled. Eddie O’Sullivan and his management team must make this a priority in their big match preparation. Rekindling of belief. Going into the history of his team and evoking the moments when they have overcome adversity. The moments when players stood up to be counted. The days when the team collective felt unbeatable. Within all these moments and many more are the seeds of belief.
It’s the power of belief that makes the impossible possible. For true belief knows no bounds. Feels no limits. It can take you way out of your comfort zone. And that, is where Ireland need to be. Right there. However, for belief to be true, every cell in your body has to believe. There is no place for doubt. All disagreements, uncertainties, anxieties must be resolved. It takes work. And it takes trust.
Ireland will know when they have it. For they will have experienced the power of belief before. The art is in rekindling it. If he succeeds in doing that, Eddie O’Sullivan will have earnt his new contract.