Intensity-Systems-Talent Trifecta

Excellence is built on the interplay of three dynamics: Intensity. Systems. Talent.

Intensity is having a DESIRE (mindset/attitude/vision) to be excellent individually (talent) as well as excelling as part of the team (system).

Each team member has to take ownership in this high work rate culture.
No one else is going to do it for you.

Intensity includes being fit enough to perform those systems and talents for 82 minutes. Keep getting up. Keep showing up.

You will want to cultivate the “Intensity multipliers” in your team, he may be a coach, or a player, but there will always be those few guys who raise every one’s intensity when they are around.


Systems are the strategies, environment, and culture, facilitated by the coaches but maintained by the players, in which excellence flourishes or deteriorates.

The individual player has to understand the systems in order to benefit from them.

Vision and values. Brand management. Club infrastructure. Logistics. Practices.
Defensive Pattern. Offensive Patterns. Set pieces. Rucking Protocol. Broken Play Protocol.

Repetition of systems carries excellence into pressure and fatigue situations.

Japan & England under Jones. Lions & Gloucester under Ackermann. Saracens under McCall. Crusaders under Robinson. Springboks & Brumbies under White. Wales under Gatland. New Zealand under Ted. Leinster under Lancaster. Ireland under Schmidt.

All of these coaches run really intentional systems, that the players mold themselves into.


Talent is the present skills, athletic ability, & rugby intelligence of the coaches and players.

The reality is that there is always someone more talented than you.

But YOU have the full ability of maxing out your talent capacity through hard work (INTENSITY) and by involving your self in the best available growth environment (SYSTEMS).

Decision making skills. Athletic skills. Handling skills. Tackling skills. Rucking skills. Position specific skills. Relational skills. Knowledge of the Laws.

Can you perform the skills required of your position and required of the team system?

How fast, strong, big, agile, anti-fragile are you?

Can you see the right place to be at the right time, can you out think your opposition, Can you read the play, can you understand the team system, can you adapt to the changing situations/conditions?

Most players can play above their Talent capacity if put in a team with great Systems with an Intensity multiplier.

By the time players get to the top tier, Talent is pretty much maxed out.
Rugby is not a game where the more talented team automatically wins.
It is often the team with greater intensity applied to a better system that wins.


INTENSITY is the most important trait for excellence.

SYSTEMS are the biggest multiplier of excellence.

TALENT is the hardest to improve. Intense, organized B-talent, often beats lazy, mismanaged A-talent.

Rehearsing default patterns (Systems) and inspiring high work rate expectations (Intensity) around them will be our competitive advantage against more talented teams

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