The stereotype of a Northern Hemisphere emphasis on the kicking game might be overplayed, but when it comes to the raw statistics, the south still has considerable ground to make up on the north.
Following defeat to the Springboks last month, Hansen addressed the issue after a poor night off the tee for the otherwise scintillating Barrett.
“Beauden has these nights. He’s had them before and then he comes out and kicks a hundred per cent the next time. Young Pollard hadn’t been kicking well up until last night and he goes out and kicks a hundred per cent, so that’s the nature of goalkicking.”
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Kicking for goal is still seen as Barrett’s weakest link, and the statistics appear to bear this out, adding grist to the mill for those wanting to denigrate the All Black playmaker’s all-round game.
The statistics track the kicking success rate of the ‘Top Tier’ international kickers with more than 40 attempts at goal since the start of the Rugby Championship in 2016.
The stats confirm that Barrett and Pollard lag significantly behind the best kickers in the Northern Hemisphere. Interestingly Pollard’s rival for the Springbok Number 10 jersey – Elton Jantjies – more than hold his own with the Northern Hemisphere.
Top of the pile is Leigh Halfpenny with a 84 percent kicking success rate, this despite his propensity to attempt long distance kicks.
In second place is Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw, who managed an impressive 83 percent. Boasting a very healthy 82 percent is Elton Jantjies in third place.
In fourth is Ireland’s Jonny Sexton with 80 percent, while in joint fifth is Scottish (and now Racing 92) magician Finn Russell and the Argentinian Nicolás Sánchez, both with a very solid 78 percent accuracy off the tee.
In 7th is England’s Owen Farrell (77 percent) and in 8th is Australia’s Bernard Foley (74 percent).
Languishing in 9th is Barrett with just 72 percent, while Pollard fares even worse with 68 percent.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) October 6, 2018
Barrett’s boot has cost the All Blacks’ games in the past, and the Springboks can hardly afford to stick with a flyhalf with who can barely manage two out of three kicks. How both sides address over the coming year could prove vital.
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