Rugby Championship News

Wallabies told to stop whingeing





Wallaby coach John Connolly is keen to have drop-goals (also called field-goals) devalued, but he has come under fire from his own media for his stance on one of the game’s more intriguing scoring methods.

Connolly, in his weekly column in the Sydney Morning Herald, said he believed field goals should be reduced to just one point. This follows two late Francois Steyn drop-goals which gave the Springboks a 22-19 victory over the Wallabies in Cape Town earlier this month.

However, respected Australian journalist Greg Growden, writing in his weekly column – MONDAY MAUL – in the same newspaper told Connolly in no uncertain terms that he was wide of the mark.

“What’s all this ridiculous carry on that field goals should be reduced to one point? Absolute rubbish,” Growden said in the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Instead they should be worth more – four, five, six points. If that occurred it would at last force the Wallabies to get serious about solving one of their biggest problems – their glaring lack of kicking skills.

“A prime reason why coaches whinge about field goals being worth three points is because it is so difficult to defend against. And that infuriates the paranoid clipboard brigade.

“Field-goal kicking, especially in the hands of a Francois Steyn, Jannie de Beer, Rob Andrew or Jonny Wilkinson, is a fine art. It’s a rare skill, giving matches a special, unpredictable edge. Crowds like it. So field goals should be rewarded, not downgraded.

“And if the Wallabies had a good field-goal kicker they wouldn’t be whingeing. Why they are whingeing is entirely their own fault, because the emphasis placed on improving the general standard of kicking within the team is minimal.

“So often, the team’s erratic field kicking has bitten them on the backside – such as in last week’s Cape Town Test – and it’s high time it was fixed.

“At Wallabies training it soon becomes apparent why it is such a problem. At the end of each session, while forwards keep pounding away at the set pieces, the backs usually entertain themselves with muck-around kicks to each other.

“Here you see their kicking styles at close range. And most of them are dreadful. It is clear no one has taught them how to properly kick a ball. Instead, many toss the ball up as if they are the spinner at a two-up game, and jab away at it as if they have their leg caught in a revolving door.”

He also pointed out that the Wallabies last year had a kicking coach in Ben Perkins, but after Perkins’s pay was ridiculously cut by the Australian Rugby Union, he walked.

“Now there’s no specialist kicking coach and there is unlikely to be one until after the World Cup. Madness.”
365 Digital

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