England Rugby RWC Squad: A lesson in team building?

We have always been big rugby fans at Mash – and our partnership with Twickenham Stadium has only fuelled the fire – so we’re all very excited about the forthcoming Rugby World Cup. Sixteen years on from that jaw dropping Johnny Wilkinson moment, could England do it again?

We have always been big rugby fans at Mash – and our partnership with Twickenham Stadium has only fuelled the fire – so we’re all very excited about the forthcoming Rugby World Cup. Sixteen years on from that jaw dropping Johnny Wilkinson moment, could England do it again?

While the All Blacks have taken up their resident position as favourites to claim the trophy, England do have reason to be confident – other than a few blips along the way, it has been a very positive four years since we were painfully evicted from the last World Cup – on home turf – at the group stages.

The main orchestrator of this resurgence is the England coach Eddie Jones. A proven winner, he has injected the team with greater professionalism, athleticism, skill and perhaps most importantly, belief that they can be the best in the world.

And as winning teams are pretty much our raison d’etre at Mash, we thought it would be a good idea to look at Jones’ world cup squad and consider whether there’s anything we can learn from his selection.

Firstly, he went early, announcing his squad before any other nation. This shows the importance that Jones places on teamwork – giving his chosen team the longest time to play together in a supportive rather than competitive way.

Secondly, he left out Ben T’eo. As there’s no denying T’eo is a brilliant player, Jones seems to have put team unity before individual talent. While he has kept quiet about his reasons, it’s been widely reported that T’eo had a falling out with Mike Brown at their training camp in Italy. As they’ve both been excluded, it seems Jones isn’t willing to countenance any disrespect within the team.

Thirdly, he’s got four inexperienced players in his 31-man squad. Ruaridh McConnochie has only been playing in the Premiership for one season (he converted from Rugby Sevens) and had never played for England before selection, while Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz and Jack Singleton had only one cap apiece.

Perhaps Jones was influenced by the success of the relatively inexperienced England football squad at the World Cup last year. Or this could be a message about his own confidence and self-belief. Most likely, it’s an example of his constant striving to improve – the belief that injecting freshness into his team is just the stimulus they need.

And finally, he’s 100% standing by his selection. While Ben Youngs’ inclusion was never really in doubt, he didn’t have a great game against Ireland (despite England’s resounding win). Jones backed his performance, and two weeks on, Youngs was named Man of the Match against Italy. Whatever was said in private, Jones’ unwavering loyalty in public gives his players the room to focus on their future performance.

So what can we learn about managing teams from this trophy winning rugby coach? Give your team the tools to grow together, never underestimate the value of team spirit, always keep things fresh, and back your team all the way.

Well, that sounds good to us.

Good luck England! #weartherose
(Other home nations are available)

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