Quick Q&A with Mehrts

We’re very glad to bring you this, the first of a monthly interest piece where you will be privy to the thoughts of a sporting or business high achiever, sharing their thoughts on some contemporary issues. We’ll also introduce you to one of our products which may be of interest. This month it is the Geko™ VTE prophylaxis device, which is also used for elite sports recovery.

ANDREW MEHRTENS  
70 Test Caps, 967 Test Points

Q: Who scares you most at the RWC? (Player or team)

“I think if they can rediscover the passion that they showed against the All Blacks in the first half in Johannesburg this year, the Springboks are very very dangerous.They haven’t quite put it together again since then, and of course had that disastrous (for them) result in the World Cup against Japan, but at their best they are a very big, powerful, fast team that can achieve a brutal intensity on attack and defence”.

Q: Who is the best 10 in world rugby at present?

“I’m biased and I always will be, but I think Dan Carter is still the most complete five-eighth in the world. So much he does is relatively intangible; his organisation and communication, reading and “feeling” the flow of the game, and the confidence he gives to players around him. He picks his moments to run and still has lethal acceleration. Other players to impress me in this position currently are Sexton (Ireland) and North (England). They are guys who can orchestrate an attack and guide their team round the field, giving time and space to their outsides, more so than excelling on attack themselves”.

Q: Steve Hansen. Genius rugby brain, or genius leader?

“Both. And like all really intelligent coaches he has an amazing ability to get his message across to his players in the simplest manner so that everyone gets what he wants. He instils confidence by backing his players and giving them only a couple of focal points each within the team strategy. Steve comes from a proud rugby family and coaching the game is really in his blood. I was lucky enough to have him as coach with my senior club team as well as in the professional environment and enjoyed my time under him. He along with Wayne Smith implemented almost all of what made the Crusaders successful for a long time both on and off the field”.

Q: Two major differences between Kiwis and the rest of the world?
(Coaches and/or players)

“It’s hard to overestimate the advantage we have of just growing up playing the game and learning to feel the game from when we are toddlers. Playing rugby or its variations in school lunchtimes etc gives us the feel for space, communication and support play from a young age. When you consider that other countries have better resources and greater playing numbers than us it makes you realise that being innovative and passionate about the sport is our point of difference. We come from a naturally innovative background, being a sparsely-populated and young country and we have an affinity with the team ethos which is crucial to any sport but particularly rugby with its distinct roles and diverse nature”.

Q: Does overall education make a difference (positive or negative)
in a rugby career?

“Depends on the player and the coach. Everyone is different and a good coach will ensure that players are given the chance to comprehend at their own pace and in their own way. Not everyone responds best to learning things on a whiteboard or being told verbally. Academic proficiency does not necessarily translate to a feel for the game or a good decision-making process. I do think that keeping balance in your life, away from the rugby environment whether it be study or work experience or whatever, is beneficial in that it stimulates your mind and ultimately contributes to better application when it is rugby-time”.

Q: What was your favourite form of recovery when you were playing?
(see below)

“I didn’t particularly like ice-baths or hot-and-cold recovery but it did work for me and I felt better. In the early days of professionalism it seemed like there was a new theory each year as to how best to recover. I guess the basics are important – refuelling with food, hydrating, stretching etc – so anything that can contribute to that in the quickest and most efficient package possible is going to be embraced by the players! Bio-technology and knowledge is light-years ahead of even ten years ago, so players are now exposed to an amazing degree of biological analysis and bespoke processes to get them recovered and firing again as quickly as possible”.

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