Winning Like the Springboks: Entrepreneurial Lessons from the 2023 Rugby World Cup

Untitled design 13 Winning Like the Springboks: Entrepreneurial Lessons from the 2023 Rugby World Cup

In the world of sports, there are moments that transcend the boundaries of the game itself and inspire people from all walks of life. The South African rugby Springboks’ triumph at the 2023 Rugby Union World Cup is one such moment. They didn’t just win the tournament; they did so against all the top teams, often by the narrowest of margins, and their victory is a testament to the power of resilience, adaptability, and teamwork. As entrepreneurs, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the Springboks’ incredible journey to victory. In this blog post, we will explore what entrepreneurs can glean from the Springboks’ victory and how these lessons can be applied to the world of business.

Resilience and Perseverance:

The Springboks’ path to victory was not a smooth one. They faced tough opposition throughout the tournament, often trailing in the closing minutes of games. However, their resilience and determination allowed them to come back and secure victories in the face of adversity. Entrepreneurs can learn the importance of not giving up in the face of challenges. In the business world, setbacks and obstacles are common, and the ability to bounce back and keep pushing forward is essential.

Adaptability and Strategy:

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Springboks’ victory was their adaptability and strategic prowess. They were willing to change their game plan based on the situation, often making crucial decisions in high-pressure moments. Entrepreneurs can apply this lesson by being flexible in their approach and open to adapting to changing circumstances. In business, the ability to pivot and adjust strategies can be the difference between success and failure.

Teamwork and Leadership:

The Springboks’ success was a result of exceptional teamwork and strong leadership. The team was united under the guidance of their captain and coach, and they worked together to achieve a common goal. Entrepreneurs can learn the importance of building a cohesive team and providing effective leadership. A well-functioning team can overcome challenges and drive a company toward success.

Attention to Detail:

In a sport like rugby, small details can make a big difference. The Springboks paid attention to the finer points of the game, from their set pieces to their defensive alignment. Similarly, entrepreneurs should focus on the details in their business operations. Attention to detail can lead to improved efficiency, product quality, and customer satisfaction.

Mental Toughness:

Rugby is a physically demanding sport, but mental toughness is just as important. The Springboks exhibited incredible mental strength, especially in the high-pressure moments of close games. Entrepreneurs can apply this lesson by developing mental resilience. The ability to stay calm under pressure and make sound decisions is crucial in business.

Embracing Diversity:

The Springboks’ victory had an element of unity and diversity. The team represented South Africa’s diverse population, and their victory was celebrated by people from all walks of life. Entrepreneurs can learn from this by embracing diversity in their organisations. A diverse team can bring a variety of perspectives and ideas, fostering innovation and inclusivity.

Continuous Improvement:

Throughout the tournament, the Springboks demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement. They learned from their mistakes, refined their strategies, and evolved as a team. Entrepreneurs should adopt a similar mindset in business. Continuous learning and improvement are essential to staying competitive and successful.

Managing Pressure:

In the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the Springboks faced immense pressure, especially in the high-stakes knockout games. Their ability to manage pressure and perform under intense scrutiny was a key factor in their success. Entrepreneurs often encounter high-pressure situations in business, such as pitch meetings, negotiations, or product launches. Learning to manage pressure effectively can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Never Underestimate the Underdog:

The Springboks were often seen as the underdogs in many of their matches, but they defied the odds and emerged victorious. Entrepreneurs can take away the lesson that underestimating the competition or underestimating oneself can be a mistake. Success can come from unexpected places, and it’s important to believe in one’s potential even when facing tough challenges.

Embracing Unconventional Strategies and Playing for a Greater Purpose

The Springboks’ journey to victory was marked not only by their resilience and adaptability but also by their willingness to embrace unconventional strategies and play for a greater purpose. These unique aspects of their approach offer valuable lessons for entrepreneurs.

 Embracing Unconventional Strategies:

One of the most talked-about aspects of the Springboks’ campaign was their unorthodox approach to the composition of their substitutes bench. They adopted a controversial 7:1 split, featuring seven forwards and only one back among their substitutes. This choice received criticism and skepticism from many quarters, but the Springboks stuck to their unconventional plan.

Entrepreneurs can learn from this bold move. In business, there’s often pressure to conform to conventional wisdom and established norms. However, the Springboks’ success demonstrates that, at times, embracing unorthodox strategies can lead to remarkable outcomes. Entrepreneurs should be open to challenging the status quo and thinking creatively when it comes to problem-solving and strategy development.

Additionally, the coaching staff’s unconventional approaches during challenging games further emphasise the importance of thinking outside the box. Whether it was using surprise tactics, unique game plans, or unexpected substitutions, the Springboks kept their opponents guessing and maintained a competitive edge. Entrepreneurs can apply this lesson by being open to innovative thinking and exploring unconventional solutions to business challenges.

Playing for a Greater Purpose:

The Springboks’ journey was not just about winning a rugby tournament; it was about representing a nation facing significant challenges. South Africa, like many countries, grapples with complex issues, including social, economic, and political challenges. The Springboks’ victory was a symbol of hope and unity for their nation.

Entrepreneurs can learn from this example by recognising the importance of a higher purpose in their business endeavours. The Springboks played for more than personal glory; they played for their nation and the idea of overcoming adversity together. In a similar vein, entrepreneurs can infuse their businesses with a greater purpose, beyond financial success. This can involve contributing to social causes, supporting local communities, or addressing environmental concerns. By doing so, entrepreneurs can create a deeper sense of meaning and impact in their work, which can inspire their teams and attract socially-conscious consumers.

The South African rugby Springboks’ victory in the 2023 Rugby World Cup offers entrepreneurs a wealth of lessons to apply to their own business journeys. The Springboks’ ability to embrace unconventional strategies, challenge the norm, and play for a greater purpose exemplify the qualities that set them apart as champions. As entrepreneurs navigate the competitive landscape of the business world, they can draw inspiration from the Springboks’ remarkable success and incorporate these lessons into their own strategies, leadership, and values to achieve both professional and societal impact. The Springboks’ triumph serves as a reminder that business, like rugby, is about more than just the game – it’s about the pursuit of excellence, teamwork, and the pursuit of a greater purpose.

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Matthew Musgrove

Matthew Musgrove

Matthew is an entrepreneur and business Advisor with a passion for change management and social empowerment. With a background in business accounting and advisory, as well clinical research project management, he strives to find strategic and sustainable solutions to business problems.



Mark Van Hoff comes from background of technical & production planning, budgeting & scheduling of major live events. As the first production co-ordinator at M-NET for Outside Broadcasts, Mark has managed major local and international productions including Miss South Africa, Miss World, multiple music events and major sports events, including the PnP Cycling Tour.Mark co-founded Van-Man Productions in 1994, Page to Picture in 2000 and Move Media Networks in 2007. All three companies have achieved domestic success and have been well-regarded in the South African production industry.



Oluwaseun Adewuyi who is the Group Chief Finance Officer (CFO) at Caban, is a Certified Chartered Accountant, with Fellowship status at both the ACCA as well as the Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, a UK Based industry body with a specific focus on the management of charities, not-for-profit organisations and NGOs.. Oluwaseun comes with strong business acumen and 20+ years of progressive experience in finance and operations management within well-reputed and high growth organisations Including Next Plc and Royal Mail. He has been heavily involved in impact investment across Sub-Saharan Africa and has been instrumental in the creation of a series of community schools in West Africa. Throughout his career, he oversaw a broad range of operations, including Business Strategy and Business Reorganisation, summarising the organisation’s financial status, and coordinating the preparation of tactical plans, financial forecasts, and budgets. Adept at developing and implementing effective internal control framework to maintain sound financial accountability.

tim scholtz


Tim Scholtz, who's is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Caban Investments, is experienced in implementing corporate governance guidelines, formulating risk management structures, process and cost optimization. Tim has a strong corporate background, having worked as COO at the South African Tourism board, was COO at the Nelson Mandela foundation and as a internal audit manager at Arthur Anderson earlier in his career.

Ben Botes


Ben Botes is Entrepreneur, VC, co-Founder, Author and Academic with a strong social conscience. Ben Involved with early stage and growth firms for the past 20 years and has been Co-founder of 9 separate businesses across Africa. Ben has directly and indirectly been involved in impact investment and the support of charities and non profits for the last 30 years. Ben is a regular speaker at the African Investment Conference in London and has been featured in Wall Street for Europe, The Guardian Small Business, BBC, the Mail and Guardian in the UK and BizCommunity, Channel 3 TV, Investors Weekly, The Cape Times, Radio 702 with John Robbie and Good Hope FM in South Africa

Dave Romero


Dave Romero is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur with a passion for making an impact. A qualified Professional Accountant, Dave has been a director in multiple financial institutions and was once the youngest Chairman on the JSE, in addition to being listed as one of Business Times’ Top 100 companies and the 40th fastest-growing company in South Africa. Dave is a core founder of the Caban Group, which aims to provide a comprehensive service offering to small businesses in return for equity. With a passion for nurturing entrepreneurs, Dave can often be found outside of the boardroom – offering advice, creating innovative funding solutions and building communities through sustainable practices.



Dr Ruben Richards is a truly inspirational South African leader. Through his peace-building seminars for criminal gangs, Dr Ruben has facilitated the longest ceasefire in the history of gang warfare on the Cape Flats. In addition to being Chairman & Founder of the non-profit Ruben Richards Foundation, Dr Ruben is an ordained cleric, company director, non-executive Chairman of Visual International Limited and was once the Deputy Director-General of the now-disbanded Scorpions.