// NZ RUGBY WORLD // june/july 2015
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He six teams in tHis year’s Pacific
cHallenge in fiji - natiOnal
a’ teams frOm fiji, canada,
argentina, tOnga, samOa and
jaPan - learned aBOut tHe ‘Put’ cOncePt
‘Perceive, understand and tHink aHead’,
wHicH are tHree simPle stePs fOr yOung
Players tO Put in Place BefOre making
decisiOns Off tHe field.
The concept was delivered by New Zealander
Jason Whatuira, a former law enforcement
officer with plenty of experience making quick
decisions and tough calls. A similar series of
workshops was put on at last year’s IRB Junior
World Championship in Auckland.
IRPAs Josh Blackie said it was particularly
beneficial to the Pacific Island players from
Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, many of whom were
club players from small villages.
“It was a great opportunity for us to get in
front of the next generation of players and
give them a bit of a reality check and outline
some of the pitfalls,” Blackie said.
“If they were to suddenly get tapped on
the shoulder and suddenly be up playing for
a club in France the next week, they would
need to have some decent coping abilities and
knowledge of what to do when they leave the
village or the environment they’re in.
With most of the players being pre-elite and
potentially future professional players, the
focus of the sessions was two-fold.
Education on making good decisions
covered key integrity topics using real life
scenarios such as anti-doping, betting,
concussion, mental health, social media,
home sickness, behavioural conduct and
illicit drugs. These messages are all tied up
in the PUT concept, which Whatuira has used
successfully in other high-risk industries.
The second component was creating
awareness on the need for players to seek
good advice. Players at the Tier Two test-
playing level are increasingly becoming
exposed to bad advice from often well-
meaning people - such as family, club coaches
and friends - before entering professional
rugby careers.
Through the Pacific Island Players’
Association [PIPA], former players provided
some tips for players before entering into any
contract with a club, national union or agent.
A big part of why we did these workshops
was to give the players a ‘heads up’ or an
insight of what to look out for, as we didn’t get
that support when we as players first started
The concept of situational awareness continues to spread, with the
International Rugby Players’ Association and Pacific Island Players
Association introducing the decision-making workshops to players
from around the Pacific recently.
SituatioNal aWarENESS
pi players in
good SpacE