- 14 Sep 07, 06:13 PM
Seen posted on the door of the Wales dressing room in the bowels of the Millennium Stadium are words of inspiration attributed to the King of England.
I know what you're thinking: "Has Lizzie finally stepped down and let number one son have a go at last, but he's still made the time to big-up Gareth Jenkins' boys due to his previous role as Prince of Wales?"
No, the words helping to get the hwyl flowing for Saturday's Pool B clash with Australia have come echoing down the ages, uttered towards the end of the 12th century.
"For though the Welsh may be routed today, tomorrow they are ready for another campaign, quite undaunted by their losses.
"They are deterred neither by hunger nor cold, fighting does not exhaust them, nor adversity cause them to despair.
"After an overthrow they immediately rise again, ready to face the hazard of warfare once more."
Stirring stuff and even more so when they've been tagged next to the name of Richard I - "The Lionheart" to his mates (and a few of his foes as well, forsooth!).
Maybe with France being the hosts for this World Cup, old Richie's roots in Aquitaine had more of a resonance than some clergy geezer who had his feet in both English and Welsh camps at the time!
But the historical accuracy of this little gem scarcely matters, this is all about belief and how to build it.
Wales' players had been given a folder before their 2005 Grand Slam campaign. It detailed past achievements of Welshmen and Welshwomen and contained uplifting quotations from the great and the good. This is more of the same, with the prize even bigger this time.
You can do all the training, get the preparation, nutrition and tactics spot-on and it won't do you a bit of good without some fire in the belly to take on to the pitch. And you know I'm not talking about a cheeky vindaloo the night before...
England's is a bit more understated as they head into Friday night's clash with South Africa, us Anglo-Saxons being less poetic in nature than the Celts as everyone knows.
It merely reads 'STW' - short for 'Shock The World'. I'm willing to believe it refers to the whole tournament for Brian Ashton's boys, not just Wednesday's announcement that Andy Farrell was the new fly-half.
That let the cat out of the bag and then the next day, after some serious enquiry by the disbelieving world's press, let the Catt back into the number 10 shirt.
Sometimes the speech can be as simple as a call to action, such as Willie John McBride on the 1974 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa: "From now on, boys, we get our retaliation in first."
Of course a bad oratory can leave players flatter than they were before, with Gareth Southgate allegedly complaining about a less than rousing half-time speech by then-manager Sven-Goran Eriksson as England tumbled out of the 2002 football World Cup to Brazil: "We were expecting Winston Churchill and instead got Iain Duncan Smith."
What are your thoughts on the motivational techniques in this 2007 Rugby World Cup and what are the best, or worst, speeches you've heard to a team?
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