The New Zealand All Blacks rugby team is the most successful in sports history, according to Georgia football coach Kirby Smart.
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Kirby Smart finds 2023 Georgia football motivation on New Zealand rugby pitch

ATHENS — Kirby Smart has shown time and again he’s willing to go to great extremes to find things that will help his Georgia football team win games.

Smart’s latest motivational strategy is a great example of such, as the Bulldogs are taking notes from a New Zealand rugby team.

If Georgia football is going to beat the odds— no college football team has won three straight titles 1934-35-36 Minnesota — it’s going to take a concentrated approach.

“This year we’re studying the winningest sports team in the history of all sports,” Smart told a football banquet crowd in Macon, Ga., this week.

“The All Blacks rugby team is the winningest sports team in all of history, unbelievable winning percentage,” Smart said. “Somewhere in the high 800s, they’ve been doing it for over 100 years.”

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Research revealed that the New Zealand national union rugby team, nicknamed the “All Blacks,” has held the number one ranking longer than all the other teams combined, including a span from 2009-2019.

Smart, who has spun plenty of catchy slogans himself — such as, ‘if it ain’t broke, find a way to make it better — indicated UGA is adopting some of the All Blacks mantras.

“The first one for us is, ‘No one is bigger than the team,’ " Smart said. “You can say that, but do you actually believe that? In your place at church, at work, in your house.

“I believe that with all my heart. That’s a huge concept for us.”

The second mantra: “It’s an honor, not a job.”

“That’s been a big talk for us,” Smart said. “Every day I go to work, I don’t necessarily love to go to work, and you’ve got to catch yourself sometimes.

“We said (to the UGA players) go back to your 10th and 11th grade year in high school and visualize what you wanted. Are you not living that right now?,” He said.

“If you view it as a job, you’re not going to do the same thing as if you view it as an honor.”

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The third mantra: “Better never rests.”

“To say you’ve won two national championships, or won x-amount of games in a row,” Smart said, “every time I hear someone introduce our team, myself, our players with that introduction, all I’m thinking is, ‘who’s gaining on me?’ "

Smart said he’s tweaked the last mantra a bit.

“The last one, and we were on that this week, is “Sweep the sheds.”

Smart says he has changed it to, “Eat off the floor,” as it symbolizes the same mentality.

“Are you willing to go sweep the sheds?” Smart said. “I tell my kids all the time, ‘y’all ain’t done nothing. Are you will to leave it better than you found it?”

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Smart certainly has made Georgia even better than where he found it, taking advantage of the largest recruiting budget in the nation along with one of the highest paid staffs in the country.

Smart’s put his resources to good work, developing more NFL Draft picks than any program in the nation while winning at an unprecedented clip on the CFP era.

“We are built to sustain, not to be a one-hit wonder,” Smart said to the Macon crowd.

“How do you build to sustain? You coach and teach young men.”

Indeed, even if the latest lessons originated in New Zealand.

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