the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

RBS 6 Nations: 6 Kickers - 2012

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 eleven players could play a significant role in this year's tournament.

"The sight of Francois Trinh-Duc alongside Dimitri Yachvili at half-back will please many France fans. The 25-year-old came off the bench in the final in New Zealand after [old coach] Lievremont chose to play Parra, usually a scrum-half, ahead of him. 'Dimitri Yachvili and Francois Trinh-Duc finished the World Cup final and we thought it was good to start with this partnership,' said [new coach] Philippe Saint-Andre. The coach insists his side will not be underestimating Italy, who last year beat Les Bleus at Stadio Flaminio for the first time."
"Hook has flourished at fly-half in the French league and could now be in line to wear the No. 10 shirt for Wales with Rhys Priestland struggling with a nagging knee injury.
The 26-year-old lost out to his Scarlets rival in the World Cup, although he did take over in the latter stages when Priestland was again struck down by injury. And with a fresh start in France and a point to prove to his critics, Hook is confident the Six Nations could be a special one for both him and Wales. 'I was really disappointed with myself at the World Cup,' he said. 'Personally it didn't go well at all. It was frustrating to have worked so hard to get to a level of performance only to lose it just when it really mattered'."
"Wilkinson’s absence should pave the way for Toby Flood to finally get a firm hold on the number 10 jersey. With 46 caps he is the most experienced party member left, yet he too is struggling to be fit in time for 4 February after a minor knick to his knee ligaments. If it is to be Flood, then we have seen before he can be flaky under pressure. That goes doubly for Charlie Hodgson who (given his experience) could be handed the reigns this weekend. So we might just see the kicking tee being passed around the back-line until somebody finds a decent rhythm."
"[Coach Jacques] Brunel is unlikely to make drastic changes to the squad he has inherited from Mallett. The Italians will need experience in a tournament that will see them visit Brunel's home nation France first before hosting England in Rome. "We'll continue now with the backbone of players from the World Cup, and then rest them and bring in the youngsters in June," Brunel said. With winger Mirco Bergamasco, who kicked 17 of Italy's 22 points to beat France, sidelined for the first two games with a shoulder injury, Kristopher Burton will have to fill in as a replacement."
"Despite being Ireland’s highest point scorer and having amassed 116 international caps in an illustrious career, O’Gara admits he doesn’t know whether he will pip Jonathan Sexton to the No.10 slot. He added: 'I honestly don’t know whether I’ll be picked, I haven’t known for the last two years whether I’ll be picked. There are two good number tens there.If I have value to start the game, or come on in the game, that is hugely important to me. I just want to ensure that we put ourselves in the best possible position to win a Grand Slam'."
Dan Parks, Scotland
"Three years after telling Dan Parks that his Test career as Scotland fly‑half was as good as over, Andy Robinson on Tuesday put the 33-year-old, now playing for Cardiff Blues, effectively in control of the Calcutta Cup gameplan against England on Saturday. Parks, with 66 Tests behind him, has always divided opinion but for the autumn international series of 2009 he was left out of the Scotland squad and since then has made sporadic starts for his adopted country, being distinctly second choice behind Ruaridh Jackson during the World Cup. However, with Jackson still nursing the hamstring he damaged in New Zealand, Parks has moved into pole position again, even getting a hug from Robinson, after the head coach had announced a team who start the Six Nations shaped as much by retirements and injuries as any desire for a fresh start after their worst World Cup performance."

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