The struggles and triumph of the newly combined RJR/Gleaner netball team symbolises the trials which the amalgamated entity will undergo during its teething phase and the values required to make a successful combined company, says RJR managing director Gary Allen.The RJR/Gleaner netball team, the first team to represent the newly joint media entities, is a perfect blueprint of how to make the integration a success, says Allen.In their first season as unified partners they took the Business House Intermediate ‘B’ title and placed second behind Division One Business House winners, Scotiabank at the Florida Classic in October.Initially, the coming together of both teams presented difficulties, but team captain Jennifer ‘Jenny Jenny’ Small said with respect, discipline, hard work, team-work, and a winning mentality they achieved the ultimate locally and just fell short of the top prize internationally.Allen added that the girls are an exemplary model for the new RJR/Gleaner marriage.”It’s (team’s success) a very significant accomplishment. It is the first combined effort at anything we have done since we merged and it is the first victory as an amalgamated entity, which psychologically is very important, and this is just the first victory of many I foresee,” he said.”It has been an introductory collaboration between two companies that have come together and it’s a signal to staff that we are going to be successful.”We have come together as two huge institutions and we are going to have issues and challenges, but once we are together like the netball team and the example they set for us, we will overcome and we will be successful,” Allen added.Netball captain, Small, said fusing the teams was strenuous, but they did it through sacrifices, hard work, and incentives.”The bigger history is not only combining successfully but we are champions,” said Small.”It was difficult to put the different personalities, characters, and two teams together. It took a time and knowing each other and learning to respect each other was the biggest part.””We had conflicts and we resolved those quickly, and one thing that worked well was incentives. They got rewarded every match. There were spa treatments, supermarket vouchers and we rewarded MVPs. But I had to learn the weaknesses and strengths of everyone, let them know the team needs them and every girl felt needed and that was what we did to get one unit,” Small explained.Allen said the team and its achievement has been a big part of the integration and their positive values helped them achieve it in short order. Now they want to encourage those values in the work force and achieve the same results.The team’s success has also enhance the company’s already massive image and they intend to continue using sports as a driving force for health and wellness in the organisation.Meanwhile, Small lauded the team’s performance, especially at the Florida Classic where she felt they could have gone one better had the tournament been better arranged.
Mauricio Pochettino has urged his players to learn from the experience of playing against Chelsea, having collapsed to hand the Premier League trophy to Leicester City.The Lilywhites were leading 2-0 at half-time, a result which would have kept the title race ongoing for at least another week.However, Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard netted second half goals, drawing the tie level, and sending silverware to the King Power Stadium.Pochettino’s team, who have looked so good for much of the season, seemed to let the occasion get to them, and the head coach wants his players to learn from this sort of game.He said: “It was difficult because we were very emotional and they were emotional. It was a tough game. This was the feeling that was important for us to learn. We are the youngest squad in the Premier League, and it’s important for the future. We can only learn from that.”Despite losing out on the title, Pochettino insists the North London outfit should still be proud of what they have achieved this year, having exceeded all pre-season expectations.The Argentine added: “We still need to feel proud for our season, as we still fight for second place. We need to prepare for the next game.”The head coach also had words of praise for his Leicester counterpart Claudio Ranieri, who has led the Foxes to their first ever top flight trophy.“First off I want to congratulate Claudio Ranieri and Leicester on their title. They deserve it, but we do feel disappointed.”