Roncalli's Ben Thomson slots massive effort to win inaugural super boot challenge
South Canterbury may have found their own Damian McKenzie - off the kicking tee that is.
Roncalli College pupil Ben Thomson, competing in the under-18 section, calmly stepped up to slot a 55m kick at goal in the South Canterbury Rugby Union's inaugural super boot competition.
McKenzie slotted one from 60m in the ITM Cup last season and Thomson's effort came close to mirroring the All Black's as he struck it sweetly.
Thomson attempted a 60m effort and wasn't far off with it falling about the goal-line.
Give it a year or so and Thomson could be taking penalties from well inside his own half.
"It was good fun. I have kicked a couple from halfway before but not from 55m so it was a pretty good effort," Thomson said.
" ... I have always been a goal-kicker ever since I first started I enjoyed kicking the rugby ball round."
It did take him a few to warm up as he lost the tactical challenge to Hayden Kerr and Jimmy Robertson but was radar-like from long range off the tee, slotting his attempt from halfway by a good five to six metres.
"I'm definitely going to come back next year and try and defend my title."
Fourteen-year-old Hayden Kerr claimed the under-18 tactical kicking competition ahead of Timaru Boys' Jimmy Robertson, which featured a number of angled shots at goal and a series of grubber kicks.
The under-13 grade was won by Celtic's Toby Clemett, who nailed a 35m effort, while he also claimed the honours in the junior tactical kicking challenge.
"It was good fun. I did really enjoy it. I was quite surprised to have won," Clemett said.
He said the kicking challenges provided a good test.
"The grubber kick from 40m was quite hard as mine just got there."
Next year he will have to compete in the under-18 section but was confident he'd come back for a crack at it.
South Canterbury Rugby Union development officer Tristram Johnston said Thomson's effort was very good.
"He's certainly one we have to look out for with a bit of a lack of real kicking 10s around the region.
"We had to cancel it a couple of times due to weather but we want to make it a yearly thing.
"It was a good a few showed up to have a crack and next year we might look at doing it under lights on a week night during the season so we possibly get more people to have a go and potentially have that option of running an adult competition."
A senior competition would be tightly contested, with Celtic's Willie Wright likely to be favourite but he'd have stern opposition in the form of Mackenzie's Jared Trevathan, Pleasant Point's Brad Tegelaars, Harlequins' Sean White and Ken Hellier and Old Boys' Brad Leonard.
Temuka's Taleni Tiai and Kalavini Leatigaga could also be outside chances, while Celtic backup Henry Race is a very accurate kicker.