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From 4IR to rugby: Dell webinar unpacks disruption

The technologies that underpin the 4th Industrial revolution have also changed the rules of rugby coaching, the Springbok coach reveals.



It’s all about information and preparation, Springbok rugby head coach, Jacques Nienaber told the first TechByte webinar hosted by Dell Technologies last week.

The online event, streamed live on 12 March, was hosted by well-known broadcaster Aki Anastasiou. It featured Nienaber, along with Nigel Moulton, Dell Technologies’ global chief technology officer, and Doug Woolley, general manager of Dell Technologies South Africa.

It is telling that Dell Technologies signed on as a Springbok sponsor just as the team reached a low point – sending the first lesson about disruption, namely that the journey of transformation can begin anywhere on the trajectory of success. In fact, the journey was to change radically, culminating in South Africa’s national rugby team being crowned as world champions in Japan. 

During the webinar, Nienaber gave some insight into how the transformation was achieved. He told the virtual audience that consistency was the main focus, and remains key to the team’s future success:

“Our main challenge was to get consistency in our performance. We were a little bit inconsistent in 2018, and then we got consistency in 2019 in terms of our performance and preparation. And we basically found our consistency: getting consistency in preparation and how we prepare the players.”

He said that Dell’s help had been instrumental. Dell Technologies is helping the South African Rugby Union (SARU) modernise its operations, including the means to store and retrieve all match and training videos, as well as supply players with the information they need to get ready.

“It’s not like in the old days when we gave a PowerPoint presentation, and there was a lot of writing on it. These days it’s small little video clips, photos and pictures. That’s how people get the information, and they want it in the comfort of their own homes. 

“So what Dell has provided for us is how our information flow goes to the player the night before training, and he can go through it. So, it’s not ‘I’m going to teach you what to do’. The following day, when we walk into the meeting, the player is already prepared. He’s already interacting. It’s not information delivery. It’s information interaction.”

Visit the next page to read more about how the Springbok team stayed ahead of disruption.

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