The Rugby World Cup (RWC) is well and truly under way, with almost a million people descending upon England to watch 20 teams from all four corners of the globe battle it out for the trophy. The tournament is still in the pool stages, but already we’ve seen tears, laughter and some monumental upsets.
The Australian lads are off to a strong start. Having comfortably beaten Fiji and Uruguay in their first two games, the Wallabies now command an incredible 77 point difference and are sitting at the top of Pool A (along with the indefatigable Welsh team) on nine points.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 27, 2015
However, Australia’s real test will be when they come up against RWC hosts England in early October. England assistant coach Andy Farrell is excited for the match and sees it as a chance for the team to redeem itself.
“This game against Australia is as big as it gets and we’re desperate to give a performance and be worthy winners,” said Mr Farrell, as quoted by the BBC.
“This is now the biggest game of our lives. We’re already excited and the boys want to play.”
Here at BOQ, we’re confident the Wallabies can handle whatever England throws at them, but it’s guaranteed to be a great match regardless of the outcome.
Now, playing an 80 minute game of rugby against some of the best teams in the world is hard work, but in some ways adopting healthy financial habits is just as challenging. In both scenarios you have to tackle obstacles head on and implement strategies to handle opposition, but you’ll never reach your goal(posts) if you don’t (score a) try!
Okay, all bad puns aside, there are really some important things we can learn from one of the biggest sporting spectacles on the planet.
Whether you’re saving up for a deposit on a house, want to attend the next tournament (held in Japan, 2019) or simply want to see more dosh in your bank account, here are three money lessons we can learn from the RWC:
1. Incremental points (and savings!) add up
Throughout the RWC, we’ve seen the power of the penalty kick. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the game between England and Wales, which saw the latter quietly putting away six penalty kicks over the course of the first 70 minutes of the game.
They weren’t scoring extravagant tries, and they trailed behind England for much of the match, but by consistently banking points they were able to stay within hitting distance, which ultimately enabled them to clinch the win 28 – 25 in the closing minutes of the fixture.
In his post-match interview, Dan Biggar, man of the match and an instrumental figure in helping Wales achieve victory, discussed the importance of sticking to a structure in this tweet from RWC below:
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 26, 2015
We can take Wales’ slow-but-steady approach to their game against England and apply it to our financial habits. Putting a few dollars into your savings account each week is easier and more sustainable in the long term than attempting to make the occasional large, lump sum deposit, and over time you’ll see your incremental efforts flourish.
2. Contingency plans are essential
The physical nature of rugby means that injuries are almost inevitable. In fact, rugby accounts for 7 per cent of all hospitalised sports injuries in this country, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Many teams have been plagued with injuries at the RWC, but perhaps no loss will be as significant as that of South Africa captain Jean de Villiers, who broke his jaw while leading his team to victory against Samoa. He’ll be unable to play for the rest of the tournament.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 27, 2015
South Africa will likely suffer from Jean de Villiers’ absence, but luckily they have a plan in place for such an occasion. Jan Serfontein will be replacing de Villiers, and hopefully his presence on the team will help contain the effects of the captain’s injury.
The key takeaway here is to make sure you have a strategy for when the unexpected occurs. For example, how would your finances cope if you were to lose your job or interest rates were to suddenly spike?
Having an emergency fund gives you the time you need to get back into the game. Business Insider recommended that you should always have enough money in your bank account to cover three months worth of living expenses to limit the fallout of such an emergency.
3. Perseverance leads to rewards
The RWC is also teaching us that good things come to those who persevere. In 1995, Japan suffered one of the worst defeats in RWC history, when they lost to the All Blacks 145 – 17. As a country with relatively little rugby background, it would have been understandable if they’d thrown in the towel and abandoned the sport altogether.
However, they didn’t give up, and over the last 20 years the Japan team has transformed itself into a force to be reckoned with. This tenacity and willpower culminated, of course, in one of the greatest sporting upsets of all time, beating two-times world champions South Africa 34-32 in a nail biting game earlier in September.
From a financial point of view, the lesson here is centred on staying strong in the face of adversity and focussing on your goals. If you find yourself struggling to stay on budget or missing debt repayments, regroup, set a new strategy and work on improving your relationship with money in the long term.
Who do you think is going to win the Rugby World Cup 2015?