SA alive and kicking

2014-05-21 00:00

CAPE TOWN — South African players have attempted by far the most drop goals in this year’s Super Rugby competition.

This past weekend, Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen landed a 50 m drop late in the game to help his side hold off the Brumbies 27-21 in Bloemfontein, while in Sunday’s game between the Waratahs and Lions, Marnitz Boshoff came oh-so-close with the kick of the season when his drop attempt from inside his own half hit the cross-bar.

That kick from Boshoff would have been spectacular indeed, as it was done at sea level in Sydney. It would also have added to the perception that South African players opt to drop more than their Australasian counterparts.

Statistics, however, prove it’s not only a perception, but a matter of fact.

According to the VlokSkop website — which is owned by Bulls kicking consultant and former Springbok utility back Vlok Cilliers — 47 out of 58 attempted drop kicks in this year’s competition have come from South Africans. That is a whopping 81%.

However, only 18 out of 58 (31%) of the drop attempts have gone over, with Boshoff the most successful.

The Sharks’ Francois Steyn is at the bottom of the South African list, having missed all nine of his attempts, but it has to be noted that his attempts are often quite bold.

These South Africans have opted for drop goals in this year’s competition:

Marnitz Boshoff — 6 out of 14

Jacques-Louis Potgieter — 3 out of 9

Johan Goosen — 2 out of 8

Sias Ebersohn — 1 out of 3

Handré Pollard — 1 out of 2

Louis Fouché — 1 out of 2

Francois Steyn — 0 out of 9

In an interview yesterday, Cilliers said South African players are more focused on kicking drop goals than their Australasian counterparts.

“SA teams get more frustrated when they can’t force their way through after six or seven phases. They then see it as an opportunity to get points,” said Cilliers.

“The overseas teams view it as ball kicked away.”

The 31% success rate should also not be viewed as sub-standard, according to Cilliers.

“Yes, the success rate could always improve, but it’s not so bad if you think from where the drops are attempted. It’s often done from far out in very tough positions and under pressure.”

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