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Fear and stress ruled run-up, says World Cup champion

Video Credit: Reuters - Sports - Duration: 01:21s - Published < > Embed
Fear and stress ruled run-up, says World Cup champion

Fear and stress ruled run-up, says World Cup champion

Former England centre, a winner of the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, says the week leading up to the game can be an emotional roller coaster.


Fear and stress ruled run-up, says World Cup champion



I mean you're probably hearing the tannoy right now, and what I'm telling you - the tannoy's actually quite relevant - the tannoy, that volume, the level of fear and self doubt I had in my head seemed like I had this the whole time 'oh my God, oh my God, don't lose.

Oh my God, oh my God, don't make the error', and you're thinking 'no, no, you were all serene and calm'.

It's like a front in press conferences, you might ask ask Lawrence (Dallaglio), or you might ask Jonny (Wilkinson), or you might ask Martin Johnson or Bakkies Botha or Victor Matfield or Richie McCaw, they'd go 'No!

What are you talking about, I never felt that'.

So I can only tell you my perspective on it, my perspective was Monday, Tuesday (I'm thinking) 'We're in a World Cup final baby!

This is why we play!', Wednesday, Thursday 'Oh my God, do not mess this up'.

Left on my own with demons, thoughts, total and utter fear, the only way I could quiet the tannoy is if I'm sleeping or in the cinema which I always end up sleeping in.

Friday, pushing the food around the plate, feeling physically sick thinking 'I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do this', emotional energy spent.

Saturday morning 'Oh, it's game day!'.

Saturday afternoon I'm back in it.

I'm alright." STORY: A Japanese voice thunders out of a megaphone and political slogans drown out the voices on a Tokyo nightclub roof garden.

Will Greenwood holds his head in his hands.

"You hear the Tannoy now, right?" the rugby World Cup winner asked during a break in the cacophony.

"That Tannoy is relevant, because that volume was the level of fear and self-doubt I had in my head." Greenwood played a key role in England's last, and only, Rugby World Cup triumph in 2003 when they beat Australia in a dramatic extra-time final in Sydney.

This weekend Eddie Jones's England team will seek to replicate that feat when they face South Africa in Tokyo, and the 47-year-old reached back into his memory to tell Reuters what the current crop will be going through right now.

"My perspective was Monday, Tuesday, 'We're in a World Cup final, baby, this is why we play'... Wednesday, Thursday, 'Oh my god, do not mess this up'.

"Friday, pushing the food round the plate feeling physically sick, going 'I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do this...'

Emotional energy spent... "Saturday morning, 'Whoah, game day'.

Saturday afternoon I'm back in it, I'm alright.

So, they'll all have their stories to tell.

They'll all have their inner demons to struggle with... some may not, and they are the most blessed people or they have listened to the psychologists and haven't completely ignored them like I always did, which is possibly part of the problem," he smiled.

Ultimately, key for Greenwood was routine and familiarity, which, he said, helped slay the demons.

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