Understanding the relevance of a World Cup and its impact of inspiring a career in the sports industry.
Performers from Icarus Rugby Legends Louis Lamprell and Matt Mulligan with the Webb Ellis Cup at The Bullring shopping centre, Birmingham on day 40 of the 100 day Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour of the UK & Ireland.Picture date: Monday July 20 2015. Picture by Chris Radburn/Press Association for England Rugby 2015.
Rugby is a game that stems back to the legends of the 1800's. Inherited from football, it is a sport that is brutal in its impact but masterful in its play-making. Individuals train for years to be part of the sport from grassroots (school level) to tertiary, club and then professional. Such individuals quite literally put everything they have on the line for their team and in many cases their country.
With the 2015 Rugby World Cup scheduled for September and hosted in England, FirstStep.me examines the sport that has conquered an international following like no other.
When compared to Gridiron Football or the NFL, Rugby perhaps is a different ball game, it may be the obvious physical differences such as players not wearing helmets or massive body armour. Which then begs the question why don't players don such armour, especially with some players being labelled with menacing nicknames such as the Beast, Chiropractor and even the Caveman!
Yet Rugby is a sport that continues to amass support no matter the risk to its players. The skill level required alone draws the attention of crowds and convinces people that a 100-kilo plus human being can out-sprint many mortals.
It is nevertheless a showcase such as the world cup that can make and break careers, a centre stage for international players to market their talents. The press, media, clubs and public will all be watching players like hawks – their professional levels will be tested at all times.
In retrospect many of the current players ripping it up on the field probably watched a number of Rugby World Cups, itching to be on the field of glory, with the determination to capture the world title for their respective countries. This goes to show that a world cup of any sport and not just Rugby, can spark ambition, which is the life-blood to any successful career including one within a sport.
So what does it take to make it to the big time and how should a young aspiring player handle the jump from school boy to club to the big time?
Alie Brand of Stellenbosch Rugby Academy speaks of numerous attributes that a player should have. He draws on the examples of top players such as Andrew Mehrtens, Sean Fitzpatrick and even goes out the box to reference NFL great Vince Lombardi as he asserts the following:
“Train to win, keep a cool head, champions do extra, leave a legacy and pass the ball...”
Most importantly Brand says: “Understand your value is not only as a rugby player - but also for life after rugby.”
At the end of the day the Rugby World Cup will be the biggest advert for the sport – the question is what sort of player will it promote to young individuals watching? Will it inspire, educate or perhaps even determine a new breed of player...