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School of Hard Knocks
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School of Hard Knocks

NZ Rugby World, Issue 188

Adversity is one of the core elements in building great players. Players who have conquered obstacles, negotiated difficulties, or overcome great disappointments develop a character and learn to become better players. Be it injury, non-selection, defeat, illness, misdemeanour or public criticism, almost every player has experienced something that has forced them to dig deep and find answers about their desire, their work ethic, their readiness to rebuild and come back stronger.

For Richie McCaw, it was the World Cup quarter-final defeat to France in 2007. The defeat was shocking enough, but McCaw’s leadership was questioned. McCaw doubts he would have become the player and captain he was without the pain from 2007.

Daniel Carter had a goal to steer NZ to victory in a World Cup. That dream was shattered when he ripped a muscle in his leg on the eve of the final pool game in 2011. He managed to return to the biggest stage in 2015, producing three giant performances and be crowned as World Rugby player of the year.

Other players such as Malakai Fekitoa, Patrick Tuipulotu and Charlie Ngatai have reached metaphorical crossroads and must decide what road to take.

Read more: NZ Rugby World looks at how great players have responded to adversity, and how some of the current players may respond to the challenge.

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