Sunday 7 October 2007
Sadly, I was right; the All Blacks lost to France. The details of my prediction were a little off, but the irrational reactions I expected are appearing now.
The core irrationality is the belief that if you lose a close rugby game, there must be some fundamental reason, some fundamental failure that could have and should have been prevented. This ignores role of chance and circumstances beyond the team's control, which is clearly huge. Refereeing decisions alone can account for a large margin in almost every game. If success requires eliminating the possibility of losing, then a truly successful team would have to win almost every game by 20 points. No team in rugby has ever been that good.
I hope that NZ rugby fans put this in perspective and satisfy themselves with crushing all and sundry between World Cups. Some people also need to get it into perspective with life in general.
A more general lesson: sometimes you can do everything right and you still don't win. Corollary: if you don't win, that doesn't mean you did something wrong ... and you shouldn't panic and make changes unnecessarily. I hear that this is a lesson that poker players need to learn early.