The NZDF squad for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020

Invictus team visit Rolleston

by Mike Isle

It’s not about being the best. It’s about being the best that you can be.

That’s the message NZDF Invictus Games The Hague 2020 Head of Mission Commodore Mat Williams had for the team when they gathered for their first training camp at Burnham.

The Invictus Games were created by Prince Harry, and use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate understanding and respect for wounded, injured or ill current and former servicemen and women.

CDRE Williams said he had enjoyed reconnecting with people he had served with and who had moved on from defence but were now back in the fold through Invictus.

“I can see how much they’re enjoying being part of a supportive team and what it’s doing for them,” he said.

“It’s almost palpable for some; their whole demeanour has changed in the space of 24 hours. It’s almost like they’re home — they’re not rejoining, but they are reconnecting.”

Canterbury Crusaders’ high-performance manager Simon Thomas spoke to the team and outlined the importance of preparation.

“Nail the prep, and you can enjoy the moment and just play.”

However, it was also important to enjoy the process — “it shouldn’t be a grind,” he said.

The team also paid a visit to Rolleston College, presenting them with their banner and flag from the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

“Students had written messages to the team on the flag, and it was hung at the team hotel, offering daily inspiration to all involved in the 2018 campaign.

The team is sponsored by Fulton Hogan, Jaguar Land Rover, Dynasty Sport and RSA.