Lessons from Japans Win in Rugby World Cup


When Japan beat South Africa I went back to my notes of Eddie Jones presentation at Global Coaches House in London 2012 during the Olympic games. In that presentation he detailed out exactly what their plan was and how they would execute it. It has been very interesting to watch their progress over the last three years as they worked the plan. It all came to fruition on Saturday with the win over South Africa. It was not a fluke win it was by design a combination of leadership with a clear vision and a deep understanding of Japanese culture and how to use that to their advantage.

Lesson One – That is why you play the game! Never believe what the pundits and so-called experts say.

Lesson Two – Get out of the gym, the weight room is only part of an extensive physical preparation process, it is not everything. You must be fit for the game to play 80 minutes. Strength you can use and the ability to move are paramount.

Lesson Three – Go outside your sport to learn – Eddies Jones spend a day with Pep Guardiola this past year. I met with Eddie for an intense discussion in 2007 in Brisbane, we never once talked about rugby, we talked about other sports and organizations.

Lesson Four – Be a learning organization & apply what you have learned – Eddies Jones sets the example, he is constantly learning and improving, the same can be said for John Pryor their Athletic Development coach. They made extensive use of experts like Dean Benton and Frans Bosch.

Lesson Five – You play the way you practice – They made practical use of tactical periodization concepts. Practices were high tempo and high intensity.

Lesson Six – Play your game – They were aware of their physical limitations and strengths so they designed a style of play that accentuated their strengths.

Lesson Seven – It’s not strength & conditioning it is Athletic Development – I know John Pryor’s philosophy having spent extended periods of time with him over the years. He has an deep background in the sprints, Aussie Rules Football, martial arts and sports science. He understands how the pieces of the athletic puzzle must be assembled.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
RT @GreatestQuotes: Your aspirations are your possibilities. - Samuel Johnson - 4 years ago
Vern Gambetta

Latest posts by Vern Gambetta (see all)