The 5 Core Values behind England Rugby

by Joe Pelissier on February 1, 2014

England Rugby - 6 NationsI’m a rugby fan and currently producing a series of films for England Rugby. It’s a project called Keep Your Boots On! which aims to encourage players who are thinking about hanging up their boots to consider staying in the game as a referee or coach.

I’ve had the good fortune to have meetings at England Rugby’s HQ in Twickenham, the hallowed ‘fortress England’, as well to film and interview coaches and players in local clubs across England.

They’re a good bunch the rugby crowd. Whether you are dealing with an England Rugby manager, a local coach who turns up on a wet, soggy Sunday morning or a young, enthusiastic player, you get the sense you are dealing with people who have a set of values they believe in.

The Six Nations rugby tournament kicks off today and with that will be a loyal following of supporters on the ground, in clubs and at home, willing England to give the French a good kicking in Paris.

Core values for thugs or gentlemen?

With Rugby you are struck by how well-mannered and polite players are off the pitch and how tough and combative there are once they are on it. Hence the old but famous quote, ‘Football – a game for gentlemen played by thugs. Rugby – a game for thugs played by gentlemen.”

However, the real difference between the games is their set of core values. Football, is perceived to have lamentably few even if it does try to convince the world otherwise. England Rugby in contrast has a set that are clearly defined. Here they are:

  • TEAMWORK  – Teamwork is essential to our sport.We believe the only way to succeed is by working together.
  • RESPECT – Respect forms the basis of our sport.We believe every person on our team has something to contribute.
  • ENJOYMENT – Enjoyment is the reason we play and support rugby union. We believe rugby is fun and being passionate and positive
    are the keys to great performance.
  • DISCIPLINE– Discipline underpins our sport.We believe it takes strength of character and total focus to deliver.
  • SPORTSMANSHIP – Sportsmanship is the foundation rugby union is based upon. We believe in bringing fairness and integrity to our organisation by living our values.

In contrast to other sports, there is a much stronger sense of family within the rugby community. And they are ruthlessly loyal to these values, which is why a coach tells me that never in a 100 years would Kevin Pieterson have been allowed back into the England cricket team if he’d been a rugby player. Bad-mouthing your captain, in public or private, is unacceptable and unforgivable.

What your core values say about you

I always ask companies I work with what their values are. Their answer tells me a lot.

Those that don’t tend to be reactive in the way they communicate. It means their messaging will often pitch and roll – veering from one extreme to another. They are a bit rudderless in communication terms.

Those that do, are more focussed in what they have to say, they way they say it and why they are saying it. This is because a good set of values influence written, visual and spoken communication.

And rugby teams, like all businesses, go through winning and losing streaks. Let’s hope that this 6 Nations Tournament, England face one of their winning ones, but if not, one at least knows there are a set of core value that will keep the team and its supporters united.

Is the same true for you?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Damien February 1, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Great to see you back again Joe.
Wise words as always, I envy you working with such great folk.
They do, indeed set a great example not like the spoilt brats of soccer!

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