Despite their Super Rugby domination, Kiwi kickers struggle off the tee

Lima Sopoaga has kicked better than anyone in Super Rugby this year.
GETTY IMAGES

Lima Sopoaga has kicked better than anyone in Super Rugby this year.

For all their domination in Super Rugby, there is one thing Kiwis fail at more than most.

Goal kicking is proving a major issue for New Zealand's Super Rugby sides, and the problem will have All Blacks selectors wondering who to hand the tee come June.

Apart from Lima Sopoaga, who has proven to be New Zealand's most consistent kicker in recent times, the class of 2016 is atrocious.

Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie has been a revelation for his side in 2016.
BRUCE LIM/PHOTOSPORT

Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie has been a revelation for his side in 2016.

South African website goalkickers.co.za gives a detailed breakdown of Super Rugby goal kickers.

READ MORE:
* Super Rugby Team Talk - Week 8
Super Rugby Power Rankings - Week 8
Robertson keen on Crusaders coach job
Highlanders face longer wait on Naholo
Off the building site and into Chiefs pack

 
Ihaia West in action for the Blues.
DAVID ROWLAND/PHOTOSPORT

Ihaia West in action for the Blues.

They take into account distance and angle of the kick, altitude, side of the field and foot used, score difference [indicating pressure], home or away and game time.

Goalkickers can then determine if a kicker has gained or lost his team points compared to the average professional kicker.

Sopoaga tops their charts, kicking at 80.6 per cent this season while gaining the Highlanders six points more than the average kicker.

Beauden Barrett has landed 30 of his 45 kicks so far this Super Rugby season.
MARTY MELVILLE/PHOTOSPORT

Beauden Barrett has landed 30 of his 45 kicks so far this Super Rugby season.

He's made 25 of 31 kicks at goal, with a kick difficulty higher than other regular Kiwi kickers.

Ad Feedback

-----------------------------------------------------
HOW THEY RATE?
* 01 - Lima Sopoaga - 25 of 31 (80.6%), 6 points gained
* 37 - Damian McKenzie - 33 of 48 (68.8%), 4 points lost
* 39 - Ihaia West - 31 of 42 (73.8%), 6 points lost
* 44 - Beauden Barrett - 30 of 45 (66.7%), 12 points lost
* 45 - Richie Mo'unga - 26 of 42 (61.9%), 16 points lost
-----------------------------------------------------

For other New Zealand goal kickers, you have to drop to the bottom of their 45-strong list.

Richie Mo'unga is the worst of New Zealand's Super Rugby kickers.
PAUL KANE/GETTY IMAGES

Richie Mo'unga is the worst of New Zealand's Super Rugby kickers.

Richie Mo'unga has cost the Crusaders 16 points with his kicking efforts, making only 61.9 per cent of his shots at goal.

Beauden Barrett isn't much better, dropping 12 points for the Hurricanes having made 30 of 45 kicks at 66.7 per cent.

They are the two worst kickers in the Goalkickers rankings, and by far the worst of regular goal kickers.

Ihaia West ranks 39th, dropping six points for the Blues in making 73.8 per cent of his 42 kicks, while Damian McKenzie is 37th, dropping four points while kicking at 68.8 per cent.

McKenzie has kicked better than west based on the difficulty of the kicks he has made or missed.

Based on the stats, the question arises over who will take the tee for the All Blacks for the Welsh series in June.

Since the end of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, 11 of the All Blacks' 46 games against top tier opposition have been decided by five points or fewer.

That was during a period in which the All Blacks have dominated international opposition, making the run to a second straight Rugby World Cup crown last year.

Have an off night with the boot, and losses can occur.

If nearly 24 per cent of All Blacks matches come down to those margins, it is important that Steve Hansen and company have someone they can rely upon with the tee in hand.

Balancing the need for someone reliable with the tee - which can only be Sopoaga - and the ability to break a game open with ball in hand will be a tough one.

Sign up to receive our new evening newsletter Two Minutes of Stuff - the news, but different

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
Ad Feedback