AIS chief wants sport rivalries put aside to pool knowledge for long run

Matt Favier of the AIS.Forget about the domestic rivalry and develop an ”international outlook” – that’s the message from AIS director Matt Favier to ensure cross-code and sport barriers don’t hold Australia back on the world stage.

The institute will host World Class to World Best: Australia’s High Performance Sports Conference 2012 next week to encourage cross-sport collaboration and break down traditional limits. Favier has no doubt that top sports can benefit from sharing ideas rather than hiding what makes them successful.

It’s perfect timing for the ACT Brumbies after they tried to recruit rugby league star Danny Buderus as a coach last week before the NRL stepped in to block the move.

The three-day conference is part of Favier’s vision to build towards the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

But the former 800m runner wants Olympic and non-Olympic sports – including rugby union, rugby league, soccer and Australian football – to ramp up the cross-sport pollination.

Brumbies coach Jake White will be one of the guest speakers at the conference. Since arriving in Canberra last year, White has canvassed ideas from the NRL, cricket and AFL to help develop the Brumbies into the best Super Rugby team.

Favier urged others to follow his lead. ”This conference has a very much Rio focus and has a significant look to our high-performance view over the next eight to 10 years, but we want to bring in the wider sports,” Favier said.

”I don’t think there have been enough opportunities for ideas to be shared and we’re looking to gain any competitive advantage we can.

”A lot of the professional codes compete for the same talent. I certainly think the areas that can help Australia be more successful, that’s where things should be shared.

”This conference has an international outlook and not a domestic rivalry.”

The cross-code rivalry between rugby league and union was evident last week when NRL officials were furious with the Brumbies’ attempt to sign Newcastle Knights great Buderus as a consultant coach.

Buderus still has a year remaining on his playing contract with the Knights.

White wanted him to work with his players to improve their tackling and contact work.

But the NRL stepped in and Buderus’s time with the Brumbies lasted just a few hours.

But White’s hopes of gaining some insight from rugby league may not be dead yet.

Canberra Raiders coach David Furner admitted he was open to the idea of working with the Brumbies to help both teams rise to the top of their respective competitions.

”If you’re going to do it, then in the pre-season would be ideal,” Furner said.

”It’s too hard during the seasons, but you could look at goal kicking and general field kicking that you could do when the NRL and Super Rugby is going.

”I think both of us could learn … Jake and his coaching staff came out here last pre-season. It’s about looking at all aspects of your game and how you can improve it. You’ve got to look outside the square.”

Favier has assembled a group of speakers from around the world to impart their knowledge and encourage sports to work together.

Coaches from Australia’s successful London Olympics sailing team will also speak, as well as institute mentors.

”There are many great examples in different pockets across sports where I think we can learn and share things across sports, the nation benefits as a consequence,” Favier said.

”This conference takes the ideas to a new level and give it a professional flavour to target our community in a way it hasn’t been done before.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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