In our recent virtual networking hosted by the South African Chamber of Commerce UK, attendees explored the insightful parallels between the world of rugby and the realm of business and life. The theme was ‘Ubuntu Springbok Special Networking’, an event that encapsulated the spirit of togetherness, collaboration, and drawing inspiration from the Rugby World Cup.

Attendees were asked a simple yet profound question: “What lessons in business and life can you draw from the Rugby World Cup?” Here are some of the insightful responses that emerged from this special event.

Play as a Team

One of the key takeaways from the Rugby World Cup is the importance of teamwork, both in business and life. Success isn’t achieved in isolation, and just like a rugby team, we must work together, leveraging each other’s strengths to achieve our goals.

Embrace Diversity

Diversity is a valuable asset in business. More perspectives mean more ideas, more creativity, and a greater understanding of humanity. Embracing diversity in your organisation can lead to innovation and growth.

Leadership Matters

Leadership is a critical factor in both rugby and business. Effective leadership can inspire and guide a team to victory. Leaders set the tone for the organisation, and their decisions can shape the course of success.

Strategic Thinking

The road to the Rugby World Cup victory was years in the making, requiring strategic planning and execution. Similarly, in business, strategic thinking is essential for long-term success. It involves setting goals, making informed decisions, and adapting to changing circumstances.

Balancing Passion and Reason

While passion is essential, it must be tempered with rational thinking. In the heat of the game or in the challenges of business, it’s crucial to maintain a clear and level head to make sound decisions.


Just as rugby teams must change tactics quickly to respond to evolving game situations, businesses need to adapt to changing market conditions. Flexibility and the ability to pivot when necessary are vital for sustained success.

Respect the Competition

Underestimating the competition can be a costly mistake. In both rugby and business, recognising and respecting the capabilities of your rivals is key to maintaining a competitive edge.


In the face of adversity, both in rugby and business, resilience is a key attribute. Digging deep and persevering, even when the odds seem stacked against you, can lead to victory and growth.

Aligned Purpose

A purpose that is larger than any individual’s goals is essential. Just as the Springbok rugby team plays for a greater cause, businesses and individuals should align their efforts with a shared purpose that brings people together.

Effective Communication

Miscommunication can happen, but it’s essential to address and resolve it. One person’s ‘kant’ is another person’s side.

Ubuntu – I am Because We Are

The philosophy of Ubuntu, meaning ‘I am because we are’, is not limited to South Africa. It emphasises our interconnectedness as human beings. In both rugby and business, recognising this interconnectedness can lead to more profound collaboration and success and dare I say, a better world?


The lessons learned from the Rugby World Cup are not confined to the sports arena but extend to the broader realms of business and life. As we reflect on the wisdom shared at the South African Chamber of Commerce UK’s Ubuntu Springbok Special Networking event, we are reminded that the principles of teamwork, diversity, leadership, strategy, adaptability, resilience, and purpose are universally applicable. By embracing these lessons, we can tackle the challenges of our own ‘games’ with a renewed sense of purpose, unity, and determination.

– By Tania Verdonk, East of England Chapter lead and an Exco member.

Please join our next Ubuntu Global Monthly Networking session on 30 November 2023.

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