The Captain’s Run by Gregor Paul
The Captain’s Run is a fascinating look at leadership in the highest level of New Zealand sport.
The job of All Blacks captain is a high profile role, full of public expectation and has evolved over the last fifty years to include modern leadership practices.
It takes strength and confidence to captain a team where failure is not tolerated. But how exactly have captains gone about leading the world’s most successful rugby team? How do they deal with the high pressure stakes, cope with failure and what would they do differently?
“Every captain of the All Blacks has learned that it doesn’t take much to upset the balance of their tenure,” writes Gregor Paul.
“History is cruel and definitive when it comes to judging All Blacks captains. There is no footnote in history: no asterisk that explains bad luck. It’s black and white, recorded in wins and losses, and a captain is remembered as good or bad and rarely anything between,” he says.
In Chapter 12, Gregor further explains how history is also selective and people remember what they want. To be remembered as an All Black great, it is essential for a captain to make the best impression through a defining achievement.
Interestingly, The Captain’s Run doesn’t individually profile captains, but takes a closer look at common themes from the amateur days to professional and captaincy in the digital age. It also addresses the binge drinking culture, expectations, regrets and failures.
Many captains have been interviewed for this book and author Gregor Paul, expertly weaves together their experiences and stories. Gregor Paul is a respected rugby columnist and the editor of RugbyWorld. He has covered rugby for nearly two decades and his behind the scenes observations are engaging.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a huge rugby fan, but I do support our national team and watch test matches. I was especially keen to review this book because I’m fascinated by the synergy of business and sport leadership. That’s what makes this book such a fascinating read, it cleverly blends culture, leadership, personality and rugby. Dedicated rugby fans, sports enthusiasts and those with an interest in leadership will thoroughly enjoy The Captain’s Run.
Reviewer: Andrea Molloy HarperCollins, RRP $39.99