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What Japan’s win over South Africa should tell us

This is what I took out of the game – I hope that the new Conservative government agrees with me!
Japan’s win over South Africa was incredible – in the past the country had come up against one of the big boys and been brushed aside, but this time it was different.

The Japanese coach, Eddie Jones, created a way of playing the game that focused on the strengths of the team and they clearly had a plan for the game – they used their higher energy levels to make the heavier South African pack seem cumbersome.

After a bit of reflection I thought how prescient this was to the country’s SME population – or rather should be. Small employers should have huge advantages – their employees are more motivated and have higher energy levels. Technology now rewards businesses with expertise and a good service culture in ways that have never been seen before and this means that a firm with a handful of employees can take on the market leaders and win.

Yet the difference between rugby and commercial life in the UK is that all the players on the pitch know the rules and, broadly, work within them. This has always been the vision from the Forum – by all means let HMRC punish firms for tax avoidance but only when they have knowingly broken the laws. There were some big lads in the South African pack who threw their weight around but the Japanese had an answer to it that was very different to the resigned shrug that is expected from SMEs in this country.

The enforcers in rugby (the referees) are seen to be fair and are treated with a lot of respect as many are ex-players and close to the game. This cannot be said for some of the enforcement agencies – although this can be down to business owners shooting the messenger – but the Enterprise Bill may get such agencies closer to small firms.

I would like to see the government work towards a rule book for businesses that allows everyone to not only ensure that the rules are met but also encourages the diversity of interpretation of the game like the Japanese have introduced – where innovation is applauded and playing the game in a different way is not treated with suspicion.

This is what I took out of the game – I hope that the new Conservative government agrees with me!


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