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Rugby's best 'big man' kicks

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Jerome Kaino and rugby's most memorable 'big man' kicks

After Jerome Kaino’s whiffed conversion in his final game at Eden Park last night, we decided to compile a few memorable ‘big man’ kicks, for better or worse.

This one is dedicated to the forwards that practice sideline conversions after training.

Jerome Kaino’s last hurrah – Eden Park, 2018

This kick is made even better by the fact that Kaino’s former All Blacks and Blues teammate John Afoa pointed out that the big blindside played No. 10 once upon a time.

Kaino signed off at Eden Park with this beauty that will capture the hearts and imagination of fans forever.

When Caleb Clarke crossed for his first career try just two minutes before the final siren, the stage was set.

In his 137th match for the Blues – bringing him equal with Tony Woodcock for second in franchise history in terms of appearances – the 81-Test All Black lined up the conversion and the rest is history.

The kick missed, perhaps a metaphor for how much the Auckland franchise will miss Kaino’s impact.

There was a little bit of confusion after Kaino’s lame-duck flew past the uprights as one assistant referee sheepishly raised his flag, but the kick unfortunately wouldn’t count in the end.

Adam Jones’ match winner? – Cardiff Arms Park, 2014

Wales prop Adam Jones launched an unexpected and ambitious drop goal attempt while playing a Pro14 match for the Cardiff Blues.

With scores level at 21 and less than seven minutes left on the clock, Jones took the ball at first receiver and calmly had a crack with his right boot.

After the referee put his arm out for a penalty advantage, the tighthead had nothing to lose. While his kick came up a little short, teammate Thomas Davies was able to turn the penalty into three points and a lead. Munster loose forward Paddy Butler eventually stole the victory with a 77th minute try.

Matt Dunning’s season ending three-pointer – Sydney Football Stadium, 2003

Former Wallaby prop Matt Dunning delivered what still remains as one of the least likely drop-goals in history.

In a similar situation to the aforementioned Jones, Dunning’s Waratahs had a penalty advantage in their favour.

Needing two more tries to pick up a four-try bonus point and earn a spot in the 2003 Super 12 playoffs, Dunning tried to save time and secure the penalty by taking a shot that he assumed would miss. Sounded simple enough. Miss the kick, win the penalty and have a lineout five metres from the try line.

But Dunning’s kick was perfect. From about 35 metres out, the ball sailed through the uprights and effectively ended the Waratahs season.

They ended up winning the match 25-14 but were unable to score the tries needed to advance, thanks in part to Dunning’s drop goal.

Jordan Crane and rugby’s first penalty shootout – Millenium Stadium, 2008

We return to Wales for one of rugby’s most famous finishes.

The second semi-final of the 2008-2009 Heineken Cup – played between Cardiff and Leicester – was thrilling, to say the least.

With scores tied at 26 at full time, the game was played for an extra period. Extra time consisted of two ten-minute halves, something that had only happened once before, ten years earlier in a match between Brive and Toulouse.

When no resolution was found after the extra period and both teams finished with the same amount of tries scored, things got weird.

The match would be decided by a penalty shoot-out.

Each team would alternately take five kicks, each from the same spot, 22 metres back and directly in front of the posts. No player could kick twice, and they had to have been on the field at the end of extra time.

When scores were level at four after the first five rounds of kicks, it became “sudden death”, with each team alternating until someone missed.

With all of the backs eventually used up, Cardiff sent former Wales and Lions flanker Martyn Williams out. When his kick missed left, it was all on Leicester back-rower Jordan Crane.

Crane lined up the shot and calmly sent his side into the 2009 Heineken Cup final. What a wild finish.

John Eales seals the deal – Westpac Stadium, 2000

World Rugby may never see another player quite like John Eales.

The two-time World Cup winner possessed an unparalleled blend of size and skill, of which he showcased on his way to securing a third consecutive Bledisloe Cup for Australia in 2000.

Trailing by two points as time expired, the Wallabies won a penalty from a kickable distance and had the chance to steal a famous victory.

Eales looked around for regular kicker Stirling Mortlock. When he realised Mortlock was off the field, the Wallaby captain took matters into his own hands, as he had done many times before.

The towering lock – all two metres of him – curled the ball through the sticks in front of a raucous Wellington crowd to give his side a 24-23 win and lock the Bledisloe Cup away for another year. The result also helped Australia claim the 2000 Tri Nations title.

In other news:

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Jerome Kaino and rugby's most memorable 'big man' kicks