Are You Rewarding Merit?

Aussie coach Eddie Jones overseeing England’s pursuit of this Autumn’s Rugby World Cup is a one-man soundbite tutorial.

His latest selling steer comes from the vexed issue of the mooted annual global nations championship with a league winner from a November playoff, forged from a ‘rebalancing’ of the existing bi-hemispherical international calendar.

One consequence of the games’ potential restructure is opening the closed-shop of the North’s Six Nations. For twenty years since Italy’s elevation, there’s been no involvement through development of those outside the ‘elite’.

Georgia, for one, campaign hard for a chance to have a crack at upper echelon.

The question on the media lips at present concerns the 6 Nations organisers introducing promotion and relegation.

For many years now the prospect of a play-off between the bottom-placed side and the top of the next level down has been unsuccessfully pushed, regardless of any new global revamp.

It gets posed to every luminary. Yet none field it with the aplomb of Eddie;

“they should always consider rewarding merit, …”

He begins. Then adding;

“… it doesn’t matter what competition you’re in. The organisers talk about the Six Nations being the best rugby competition in the world and it is probably close to it, but to improve you’ve got to find a way of making sure you’ve got the six best teams in Europe always playing in it. If that involves relegation then it’s something that should be looked at very closely.”

It struck me as masterful positioning.

Most faced with this conundrum start off with a ‘yes’ (only the Guinness-funded suits chime ‘no’), followed by some emotive waffle. Typically with a plea to “grow the game”. (note: the tournament administrators constantly claim their duty is not to grow the game, but do state they aim to be the world’s best annual competition, so astute Eddie plays to this rather than the greater-good emotion that waylays other pleaders.)

There’s none of that here.

Straight in with the core (the kernel) of his argument.

Backed up by logic that references, respects even, the lofty mission of the organisers concerned and then politely requests an action.

The instant I heard this, I sensed his framing could be readily applied to a Sale.

What’s your arena’s most contentious dilemma? The fork in the road facing your possibly conflicted prospects? The choice of two horses where they may need to get on and ride one?

Shape your advice like Eddie and you’ll be more likely to get over the try line.

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