OPINION: Maybe it’s time for the farmers and the wider farming community to take a leaf out of the All Blacks book.
The turnaround has been nothing short of miraculous. Ian Foster, with NZ Rugby appointees Joe Schmidt and Jason Ryan, and the senior players have taken a sinking ship to the Rugby World Cup final.
To do that they had to negate some heavy traffic, even suffering a first-ever loss in pool play to the French in the opening game. If you think back 18 months, the Irish were ripping us apart, we were belted by the French, and we even needed referee intervention to beat the Wallabies. It was obvious something was up off the field.
Foster's hand-picked assistants weren’t cutting it. And the players were consumed by the Silverlake deal and ‘what was in it for them’. It felt like the game itself became secondary.
Foster was hung out to dry and it all turned pear-shaped. So, what changed? And what can the farming community of New Zealand learn from the All Blacks?
What the All Blacks were facing reminds me, to a degree, of farmer's current obsession with the headwinds of climate change, water regulations, emissions, interest rates, staffing and so on.
The All Blacks are playing the World Cup final because the players, as in the Farmers, decided to back the coaches and management, as in the farming leaders.
They buried the hatchet, showed some long-term faith, put aside personal grievances and individual advancement for the betterment of all. We might not win on Sunday morning, but New Zealand rugby is in a whole lot better space than it was even just 12 months ago thanks to this All Black turnaround.
Farmers need to start thinking long-term. Slowly grow the pie, with less me, me, here and now beating the chest. Let's get a bigger slice of a bigger pie. The scaremongering needs to stop.
Remember who is the backbone of the country - Urban New Zealand know you are, so don’t play the “everybody hates us” poor me card. That's a tired old myth. We’re better than that.
Instead, it’s time for Rural NZ to work together. Oh, and good luck to the All Blacks on Sunday morning.