the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

RBS 6 Nations 2013 - Kickers After Two Rounds

With two rounds completed and three remaining, we check in on the kicking at this year's RBS Six Nations tournament:

3 conversions, 8 penalty kicks, 
0 drop goals, 0 tries
Most encouraging of all, surely, is the latest evidence that in 21-year-old Owen Farrell reforming England have at their heart not only a phenomenal kicking machine but also a stunningly mature working intelligence. Farrell nailed the winning margin with his four penalties but in some ways that was the least of his achievement. As he explained afterwards, if he you kick enough balls through enough posts on a daily basis, you can more or less do it in your sleep. Where his influence on events seems bound to grow down the years – and quite pivotally in the brief ones preceding the 2015 World Cup – is in the matter of recognising the dynamics of any game in which he finds himself. - The Independent
3 conversions, 4 penalty kicks, 0 drop goals, 1 try
Leigh Halfpenny should be one of the first names on the Lions Test team sheet in Australia this summer. That’s the verdict of former Wales skipper Paul Thorburn, himself a full-back who specialised in long-range goal-kicking. Thorburn still holds the record for the longest kick in international rugby, having landed a penalty from 70 yards 8½ inches (64.2m) against Scotland during the 1986 Five Nations match in Cardiff. So he has huge admiration for Halfpenny’s howitzers, with the Blues star having slotted two huge kicks to seal the win over France last Saturday – a conversion from the left-hand touchline and an angled penalty from halfway.... 'I have to say Leigh is an outstanding player,' said Thorburn. 'He is a very accurate and consistent kicker who just doesn’t seem to miss. I was probably a more consistent long-range kicker than I was a short kicker. I preferred the long ones because there was no pressure! Leigh is equally consistent from all ranges. It’s well-documented that he spends an awful lot of time practising and he reaps the rewards from that'. - Wales Online
5 conversions, 4 penalty kicks, 0 drop goals, 0 tries
“There have been tough times for fans – this one’s for them,” Laidlaw said. “We had to do the dirty work. I’m fortunate enough to pick up the man of the match but that’s because the forwards did their job. “We spoke about taking our emotions on to the field and what it felt like to be playing for Scotland. But we are not getting carried away, we have to go away and understand how we won this game and take it from there. We’re not getting carried away. We hope we can build on this in two weeks’ time against Ireland.” Scotland’s interim coach, Scott Johnson, was, however, quick to praise Laidlaw, who struggled against England in the opening-day defeat a week before. “He is a wonderful lad and a wonderful technician too,” Johnson said. “He is not the most gifted athlete, as he knows and would admit, but he is so much quicker than others because his mind works in a different place. I’m really proud as it’s not been an easy time for him.” - The Telegraph
3 conversions, 3 penalty kicks, 0 drop goals, 0 tries
Ronan O'Gara, Ireland - 6 points
0 conversions, 2 penalty kicks, 0 drop goals, 0 tries
Sexton went off after half an hour in what an Ireland team statement on Monday labelled a "particularly attritional international match" and was replaced by veteran stand-off Ronan O'Gara, who struggled as England won 12-6 at a rainswept Lansdowne Road. Irish officials said a scan had confirmed the injury, which they said made Sexton "doubtful" for the game away to Scotland on February 24. - Herald Sun
1 conversion, 4 penalty kicks, 0 drop goals, 0 tries
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has hinted that flyhalf Frederic Michalak may be dropped when they visit England with a revamped team in their next Six Nations match.... The most significant change could be the axing of 30-year-old Michalak, who shone when France crushed Australia in November but produced poor performances in Rome and against Wales. "You can see that it becomes hard for him from the 60th minute," Saint-Andre said. "He is tired, both physically and mentally." Michalak, who played his first game for France in two years last June, joined French league leaders Toulon in the off-season after a year at South African side the Sharks. Should Michalak be dropped, Saint-Andre would start Francois Trinh-Duc in the flyhalf position, with Morgan Parra set to replace Maxime Machenaud at scrumhalf because France would need him to take on the kicking duties against England on February 23. - The Star
2 conversions, 2 penalty kicks, 1 drop goal, 0 tries
Kristopher Burton, Italy - 5 points
1 conversion, 0 penalty kicks, 1 drop goal, 0 tries

Orquera, of course, was the hero of Italy’s hour in their stunning victory over France in Rome a week ago. As a piece of improbable orchestration, his assured performance in the Olympic Stadium was about as likely as Motörhead knocking out a nocturne. In an instant, it seemed that Italy’s perennial playmaker problem had been solved, but there was also a suspicion that his masterful display had been a complete one-off. And on the evidence of [the Scotland] match, that’s exactly what it was.... But to give the man his dues, there were no half measures in his catalogue of hopelessness. By the time he was withdrawn from the fray in the 49th minutes, Orquera had run the gamut of calamities. It was Mr Bean Goes to Murrayfield from start to premature finish as Orquera skewered Italy’s prospects of back-to-back Six Nations wins. - The Telegraph

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