They have been working to beat South Africa for several years, the pools being drawn relatively early in Rugby World Cup. In the final moments, with the chance of a penalty shot and a historic (enough) draw they chose to play the ball which led to their overall win. Amazement, jubilation and supporters in the crowd and the team all started crying.
I know very little about Rugby. But I recognise something else here as well as a magnificent game. So indulging in a little related analysis, here is what I take home from Japan’s performance last night:
Work hard: That working to a goal for several years can end in nothing but is possibly the only way it might end in something amazing. Patience, diligence, practice and commitment: all required for whatever the goal is. I prefer not to advocate for lucky breaks but hard work. Luck is just a bonus.
Real team work: In that moment where you need to decide to take a risk (to go for 5 points rather than 3) you need to know that your team are there, without question, and that they have confidence in you even if you end up with your face in the mud.
Plan, and then again: You plan in advance, then review the plan, then start the plan again, review…
Be brave: Sometimes you can’t overthink a situation – you just have to go for it, for what feels right and run. Needless to say with a plan and a team behind you the likelihood of success as you run is considerably higher.
Cry: When something goes well there is nothing wrong with crying. Be moved by what you can do. And be moved by what others can do. Things that matter are done with passion.
I adore the fact that the Rugby World Cup is bringing moments like these stadiums around the UK. But what I love more is that Japan’s against-the-odds win is beautiful in itself and it can remind us what it is to work hard, try and then win or lose with passion. Game on.