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Looking forwards with new leaders and starters

Although the Six Nations Tournament, providing fans with an annual dose of excitement and vigour during two of Europe’s gloomiest months, is back after an enthralling Rugby World Cup that already feels too distant a memory, all the teams bar Italy are led by new captains and calls to bring new teams into the fold are increasingly compelling. Especially after consistent performances from Georgia in equivalent “tier 2” tournaments and flashes of Portugal’s attacking prowess in France ’24 Group Stages. The competition requires little introduction, a brief history lesson and a consideration of the future may serve to add value to some of our readers. Today, of course, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, and Italy are the teams we sing the Anthems of – but this has not always been the case. Until 1909, only the countries of Great Britain competed under the banner of the Home Nations Championship, before France and Italy joined the party in 1910 and 2000 respectively. In excess of a hundred years since, while the game itself may have seen a great deal of evolution, the membership structure of the tournament has remained unchanged. Is that really healthy?

The old adage, change is the only constant, is apparently as true in a sport as traditional as Rugby as in any organisation. Coming off the back of a World Cup that ended barely a quarter ago, 2024’s Six Nations is proving to be an opportunity for teams to rebuild and reinvent themselves. For England, departures including Farrell, Lawes, amongst others, have left sizeable gaps. As with any team in flux, this provides opportunities for experience to step into leadership positions and rookies to be blooded. So far, Jamie George has done well to steady the ship and grind out results as captain – until Murrayfield assisted by the experience of Ben Earl and George Ford, plus the emergence of Alex Mitchell as Ben Youngs retired from the international scene.

2024 is clearly going to be a year of significant social, political and economic change and if, like the rugby teams, you or your organisation will be looking at your careers and the teams you support or lead are well positioned to be ready for what the next 12 months hold, despite the uncertainties that are afoot. As are we, so please do reach out to ABPM+, to discuss both what we are seeing in terms of trends as well as finding the right people during changing times.


Rej Abraham, Sarah Torrington, Matt Byrne, Alex Handford