One direction has a song called Drag me down which runs a chorus that goes "nobody can drag me down". In rugby, the key to avoiding a try or scoring is largely dragging and pulling someone down. During the Rugby World Cup, you could see the determination and refusal to be dragged down when players bulldozed and pulled their way through the defence of the opponents. As always there were several lessons that came out of the Rugby World cup from a layman's point of view.
1. An underdog can cause chaos by being determined to be the best. Japan came out and beat the Springboks (South Africa) in their first match against all odds and against any prediction that could have been made. Believing in oneself is the surest way to achieve great things. There is always a first time and there is always a way to win, one just has to find it.
2. You can choose to be defeated with dignity and a fighting spirit. The American team lost to the Springboks by a wide margin but they never gave up fighting and pushing to score. They fought to the end despite what the score said. You can choose to give up before the end or you can fight till the end. It is a choice you have to make.
3. The limelight can be on someone else other than you. Even when it’s your work that you have done that is being rewarded. When Sonny Bill Williams handed over his medal to a young boy, he overcame his own personal wishes and desires and made someone else's come true. Not easy to do but he proved it can be done.
4. You can come back from a bad start to a decent finish. The springboks started off badly by being beaten by Japan in an unexpected result, but they ended up as third place winners. How you start does not determine how you choose to end. You can fight for a better finish than the way you started.
5. You can be dragged down, but you can fight to put through that try and score. Some sensational tries were scored despite serious and violent opposition against the score. How easily do you give up when you face opposition? When there is a mountain of pressure stopping you from achieving that goal. Will you push through for a try or will you give up and walk away? What is dragging you down today? Can you shake it off and still score?
6. The power of believing in yourself wins above all else. The All Blacks (New Zealand) surely believe they are good at this game and that self-belief carries them through any game they play. The way they do the Haka affirms their belief and then they play to win. You can also carry a certain belief about yourself which will make people see you differently and enable you to win the battles you fight.
Well done to the All Blacks for winning the World Cup and to the Springboks for a third place finish.