In S2: Episode 2, Louise is joined by Black Ferns Culture and Leadership Manager for the New Zealand Women’s Rugby team, Allan Bunting.
With the Black Ferns set to go head to head with England Red Roses on Saturday (12 November) in the Rugby World Cup Final, we're delighted to welcome Allan to the podcast.
Allan’s credentials are world class, having been involved with the Black Ferns Sevens for up to a decade overseeing their success at every international tournament, and now he is a part of the Black Ferns Senior Rugby Union team.
His on-field achievements are well documented but one of his great strengths is growing and supporting an authentic and inclusive high performing environment that empower those within.
Tune into this inspirational episode to learn the values and beliefs that drive Allan to be the leader he is, and what it would mean to win a home World Cup.
Tell us about your role
"The Black Ferns have been through a bit of change, it's been a tough space. They've been amazingly successful. [...]. If there's 100s things you could focus on each day, what are the critical things to bring this team to life. I'm learning everyday [...]. How do we bring all of that knowledge [...] to life for the world cup but also for the future."
"We want to win a World Cup, when you represent your country, the expectation is that you do. My mindset is always sustainability and future."
"The future of the Black Ferns is the primary focus".
"Leadership of self, it's authenticity, being really aware of who you are. Your story of your ancestors, [...] Being really aware of the defects in that. How can I make that better in my behaviour, my actions, my hard work. [...]. And probably the biggest values in sport are humility and selflessness. When you're a part of the team, it's certainly not about one person, it's about the team, your country, your families. [...]. "
"If you want to create something really special and be very successful, you have to be uncomfortable often, then when you can really jump and commit yourself in those moments, thats when the real stuff happens."
Whats your background
"I come from a beautiful city called Rotorua [..]. I've been going through my own stuff and finding my own identity [...]. I was actually adopted and it was heavily 'Mouldy' populated. I knew I was 'Mouldy' but didn't really know how to be one [...]
"Where I grew up, this beautiful thing called Sport came along [...]. To be honest, Sport saved my life at the beginning and made me feel really valued [...]."
"It really gave me a pathway and placed me where I am today.[...]"
What are the values that you're trying to bring to the team?
"Our job as leaders is - I'm really clear about my purpose and what really energises me and if i'm in a workplace that I'm not living my purpose then you're never going to get my passion [...]. So how do we help our people find their absolute value and purpose [...] and bring it to life. So thats the first thing, is allowing your people to find their purpose in life, [...] and a team purpose."
"Authenticity, how do you bring people into an environment, not having to change the way they are [...] bringing an energy thats coming from their soul [...]. "
"How can we help you and make you feel valued [...] and that you are contributing [...]. It's daily."
"The other important thing is acknowledging it. You're not just awarding tries and tackles, but values and behaviours that are going to create an environment that everyone feels like they are valued and thriving [...]"
Tell us about the Black Ferns
Louise: You mentioned the Black Ferns have been through a bit of a tough time
"Yeah, there's been Covid, not being able to play. Ladies having to work and expected to perform to their best and transferring to professional and learning what that means."
"Through those tough times, it brings about change and interventions [...] which is really exciting for the team [...]."
"Being an athlete on that side and now a coach it helps me understand what it's like in the players shoes, sometimes and getting the balance between that [...]
All Blacks - a supportive networkd
"Now we've got Dan Carter, Richie McCaw you can really feel that power [...] that is something that is globally respected. [...] And the support of the All Blacks [...] it really makes a difference. The future in New Zealand is absolutely massive."
On the 2021 Rugby World Cup
"Yeah there is a lot of pressure, but a privileged pressure. There is the pressure of putting food on the table for your family, thats pressure. [...]. What we have, we get to represent our countries, our families, it's more an opportunity to be really courageous. [...]. The ultimate goal to high performance is presence and faith in yourself."
"Our ladies walking out on the field, on the biggest stage and being free. Free from their fear, have absolutely faith in their identity [...]. Embrace ourselves in everything that we're doing."
"It's why I'm here and doing this job."
"My leadership philosophy is that I contribute as much as I can but my ultimate goal is that I'm not needed and I can continue!"
Training and the Wattbike
"Physically, rugby is a game about speed, power and agility. Doing it over again and again and again, and all your tactical and technical space, if you haven't got that then your rugby is never going to be as great as it can be."
"You can't run everyday so its often good when you get the same hit aerobically and anaerobically on a Wattbike without the impact through the joints. Its vital.
"Wattbikes, we have them wherever we go. It's rehab, its pre-hab, its conditioning, its aerobic, its anaerobic, recovery - its low impact, [...]. They're absolutely vital. One of the big things, is that its mental health too [...]. You can get a real good release of what you need to release [...]. The quality of workouts you get on them is amazing."