If the leadership is shaky, the team will suffer. It is and old rugby belief and was borne out less than a week ago.
That was on Saturday, when England under the rugby rogue Owen Farrell who has a long history of unfair and dangerous tackles, lost the World Cup final to underdogs South Africa.
Surly behaviour, not a good word for the winners, blame on the referee and ignoring the traditional bow to hosts Japan’s crowd afterwards, were just a few of the things that rankled and went against rugby’s gentlemanly manners and camaraderie.
As someone who has been watching Currie Cup rugby since 1956 and tests matches since 1958, I found Farrell and company’s behavior shocking, disappointing and tragic for the game.
But few have said it better than England’s Daily Mail (London’s third largest newspaper) on Friday. It is repeated here for anybody who loves the game and what it stands for.
Here follows the Daily Mail’s article that ripped into the England side for their post-game reaction to the loss.
“Sulking, spoiled bunch of over-grown children" was the criticism heaped on England after their loss in the World Cup final to South Africa at the weekend.
"Ripping off their medals. Standing arms crossed and scowling as the South Africans were presented with theirs.
"Failing to bow in unison by way of courteous farewell to the Japanese people who had bestowed upon them the privilege of playing on such a magnificent stage.
"Pointedly refusing to applaud the referee who they thereby had the brass neck to try to blame for a defeat which was nobody's fault but their own," it said.
That was the last image of the side which would stay with sports lovers in England.
"(Calling them) Bad losers doesn't cover it. Petulance doesn't come close. Disappointment is nowhere near an excuse for letting themselves down, letting us down, worst of all letting our nation down," it said.
The newspaper didn't buy into the players' attitudes being waved away as representative of their anguish.
"Pass the sick bag," it said. "If this is the worst that ever happens to them they should count themselves very fortunate indeed.
"Rugby used to be steeped in good sportsmanship, compassion in victory and, perhaps most importantly of all, generosity in defeat.
"First and foremost, it was about playing the game. Followed by flagons of companionship downed by winners and losers together.
"That respect has given way to self-serving ego and now, apparently, to the kind of money which is blamed for football's malaise."
The newspaper pointed out that four of the key England players, captain Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and the Vunipola brothers, had been part of the salary-cap scandal at Saracens.
The newspaper compared England's 'surly behaviour' with the All Blacks who made a big impression with the way they handled their semifinal loss to England.
"Even though Farrell had smirked his insult at their haka, the All Blacks smiled, embraced the victors, wished them well for the final and signed off from Japan by lining up for their traditional bow to their charming hosts. As did pretty well all the other teams.
"And remember, the Kiwis lost the World Cup. England merely failed to win it, yet were bitter to boot.
"That is the miserable impression they left behind in a country which not only put on a brilliant tournament but, to even greater surprise, offered more than England to the future of a game they have come late to love."
While coach Eddie Jones said England still had plenty to learn, the Mail said the main requirement should be some manners.