Performing under pressure

JOHN MITCHELL, writing on the Vodacom Rugby Portal, looks at how Gilbert Enoka helps make the All Blacks mentally stronger.

Steve Hansen has referred to mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka as 'the glue that holds the All Blacks together'.

Enoka was an international volleyball player and, prior to meeting ex-All Blacks head coach Wayne Smith, had a relatively limited background in rugby. The two men met when Enoka sold Smith sports equipment and went on to build a close bond with him. When Smith became All Blacks head coach in 2000, he requested Enoka to form part of the management set-up.

Since Smith’s reign, Enoka has worked with myself, Sir Graham Henry and incumbent All Blacks coach, Steve Hansen. He assists in cultivating an optimal, safe culture in which players have a sense of belonging – whether they are in the All Blacks squad or not.

Read the rest of Mitchell's column

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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