the study of the kicking components within sports

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

RBS 6 Nations: 6 Kickers

UPDATE: new link to all Rugby Kicking News

American football reaches it's annual pinnacle this weekend with the spectacle known as the Super Bowl. One of the games ancestors, rugby, is also in the spotlight this weekend as the Six Nations Championship kicks off. Like football, rugby diminished but did not eliminate the element of kicking. The feet of the following six players could play a significant role in this year's tournament.

Morgan Parra, France
"Arguably the best scrum half in the world, Parra is a special talent. Carrying from other great goal-kicking French scrum halves like Jean-Baptiste Elissade and Dimitri Yachvili, Parra is le petit général of this team. He plays with a composure beyond his years, and his continuing impressive performances for Clermont have cemented his reputation as one of the world’s best. Also as a goal-kicker, he very rarely misses."
"Stephen Jones's 95 caps for Wales and 859 points make him the most experienced outside-half in the world, and having coached him on the Lions tour I know how good he is."
- Sir Ian McGeechan
Toby Flood, England
"We have to put in bigger tackles in their half and kick goals. Flood has been doing that for fun recently and he deserves that No. 10 slot ahead of Jonny Wilkinson. Watching him I feel like he owns that jersey. If he can keep the scoreboard ticking over, it will silence that crowd."
- Jeremy Guscott
"The younger brother of flanker Mauro, the curly-haired Mirco has arguably surpassed his sibling in importance to the Italian team. In his role as either a wing or centre, he is one of the Azzurri’s few real class acts behind the scrum, and he’s now taken on the added responsibility of the goal-kicking. The 27-year-old is making a pretty decent fist of that role too, having kicked all 24 points in the victory over Fiji in Modena in November."
Jonathan Sexton, Ireland
"His understanding of the kicking process has been a vital progression in his career. Meeting renowned kicking guru Alred, who stopped him over-compensating by kicking with his foot open, changed his professional approach immeasurably; it was as crucial as any pick-me-up issued by either Kidney or then Leinster coach Michael Cheika during that seminal 2008-09 season. Alred forms one part of his Holy Trinity of kicking coaches; Leinster's Richie Murphy deals with him day to day, while national kicking coach Mark Tainton will guide him during the forthcoming Six Nations. Too many cooks and all that, one might suggest. Sexton insists he can locate the happy medium. 'It's not ideal,' he admits. 'Richie's day in day out, Dave is one of the best coaches in the world and I see him whenever I can. I just know what they can offer me. A lot of the way I practise I got direction from Dave, that was an eye opener and a big turning point for me when I first met him. I just know what I'm doing now.' "
Dan Parks, Scotland
"But the real comeback kid was Dan Parks, the fly-half whose performances were a revelation. It’s not so long since he was being jeered off the pitch by supporters at Murrayfield, but his playmaking skills provided the foundation for Scotland's winning run. He deservedly scooped up a succession of Man of the Match awards, silencing his critics as he did so.... Dan reads a game brilliantly and he can kick a ball with pinpoint precision."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. I am a huge fan of rugby and it's a really cool game. 6 Nations hospitality is worth watching. It really is so fun packed.

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