A recent study has reaffirmed Sir Graham Henry's famous line that "better people make better All Blacks".
A University of Otago study, published in the International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, has called for moral and social values to be considered by New Zealand Rugby in the selection process.
The study found NZ Rugby has a list of socially oriented "character assessment values", including work ethic, competitiveness, resilience, coachability, and motivation in rugby, which they use to assess players' character during the selection process.
However, authors of the study Professor Tania Cassidy and Ryan Rosevear reported that while these values all directly impact performance, leading international character academics recommend a focus also be placed on moral values, specifically compassion, fairness, sportspersonship and integrity.
"NZR lacks clear emphasis on moral values," said Rosevear. "This reflects other researchers' claims that principles such as honesty and sportspersonship are not often emphasised in elite team sports because they do not win matches."
The pair called on NZ Rugby to consider incorporating values with a moral, as well as social focus, and encourage open discussion about why some values are prioritised and not others.