Waratahs sticking with Beale’s wobbly boot



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Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie says that they will persevere with Kurtley Beale as goalkicker despite the fact that his unreliable right boot could cost the Waratahs a maiden Super 14 rugby title.

Beale will enter Saturday’s final against the Crusaders with shocking form with the boot for a first choice kicker having landed just five of his last 14 attempts, including an alarming two from seven in Saturday night’s 28-13 victory over the Sharks at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The 19-year-old’s success rate has fallen below 60 per cent for the season – the worst of the recognised kickers in the tournament – but McKenzie refuses to hit the panic button.

“We’re sticking with Kurtley. I’m not going to get bogged down in the goalkicking,” McKenzie told AAP.

“There are less shots at goal in the game (with the ELVs) and, obviously when you kick at goal, all those points are important, but he’s been doing the job for us all year.

“I’m not going to start judging him on one game or two games or whatever. He’s done the job for us and no-one’s said boo.

“Dan Carter missed seven out of eight or whatever against the Force and no-one was calling for his head.

“I mean, Kurtley’s just building experience. He’s going to learn more out of last night as a goalkicker than he would if he kicked six out of six.

“He’ll turn it around. He’s hitting the post, shaving the post. We’ll keep going.

“Who knows, he might kick every goal next week and we might look pretty smart.”

McKenzie acknowledged goalkickers could often lose confidence in the same way as a golfer suffering from the dreaded putting yips, but he didn’t believe he needed to call in the shrinks for Beale just yet.

An example of McKenzie’s thinking is Chiefs first choice kicker Stephen Donald who started the tournament poorly but suddenly found his kicking boots and found form.

“That’s part of the life of a goalkicker. You have your ups and downs. It’s a question of what you do about it,” he said.

“The trick at the moment is to not suddenly get 48 experts … I mean, six people have already sent me texts with ideas.

“Now there’s stuff we can use, but everyone’s got a solution. I can’t go and fill his head with 10 solutions because they’re all slightly different.

“So we’ll manage it. We’ve got a process. It’s no different to other parts of the game. It’s obviously more obvious.

“But every other part of the game we’ll work on and try and make it better, and we’ll work on goalkicking.

“He’s put a lot a personal time into that. He’s not just some fly-by-nighter. He’s actually dedicated himself to the task of being the team goalkicker and we’re going to support him in that.

“Let’s not start changing the starting team. The starting team’s doing the job for us from a football point of view and Kurtley Beale is easily the best option for us at goalkicker.

“So that’s where it starts and finishes.”



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