“I look up to Richie McCaw. His leadership, his captaincy of the All Blacks, and his amazing on and off field presence. He’s also a pilot himself these days!” – Stephen Willis to Olympics.com
Willis is a captain on and off the pitch. When not leading his men in rugby sevens matches, he is flying 34 and 15-seater commercial aircraft, as well as smaller corporate jets.
While flying and rugby wouldn’t seem to have many similarities at face value, Willis does draw parallels between leading his teams.
“The thing I love about flying, like in rugby, is that you have to take on different challenges every day,” he said.
“You wake up, the weather is not always the same, you have got things to deal with like grumpy passengers, so you have to adapt, find a way to succeed, and give your best no matter the circumstances.”
“There is a lot of responsibility that comes with being any type of captain, and I like to lead by example. However, I have to admit that sometimes I can be a bit too passionate on the rugby pitch and I have been awarded the odd yellow card and a couple of minutes in the sin-bin!”
It will come as little surprise to find out, therefore, that Willis’ main sporting inspiration is a New Zealand rugby legend that shares the same passions.
“I look up to Richie McCaw. His leadership, his captaincy of the All Blacks, and his amazing on and off field presence. He’s also a pilot himself these days, so I really look up to him.”