Pressure mounts on Koen

2012-10-01 16:28
Johannesburg - The pressure will be on Springbok kicking coach Louis Koen to get things right after the national team produced another mediocre kicking performance at Loftus Versfeld last Saturday.

GALLERY: Springboks v Wallabies at Loftus Versfeld

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According to the supersport.com website, while the Boks were vastly superior to their Wallaby counterparts in Pretoria, once again they had a common malaise affecting their play and it was their kicking at posts.

The horrors of Dunedin - where the Boks left 22 points on the board from missed kicks - were perhaps forgiven because of the poor run of form by Morne Steyn, but with test matches often won by the smallest of margins, the kicking performance is becoming a major concern ahead of Saturday’s match against the World Champion All Blacks at Soccer City.

At Loftus there were 16 points missed from kicks - Johan Goosen missed two, and Ruan Pienaar four - and unless the Boks find an answer to their woes with the boot, it may well be a costly exercise again against the All Blacks.

Certainly an argument can be made for the fact that for the past four years there was almost an over-reliance on the boot of Morne Steyn, but with Steyn not having much confidence or form left at the moment, an alternative must be found.

Coach Heyneke Meyer is fond of saying he would rather “coach” the problem to a successful conclusion and there is no doubt this is a small one that could become a massive headache if it is allowed to continue.

The Boks - on the back of their superb forward effort - created enough momentum and chances to be happy about their last three outings. What was more of a concern, was the lack of clinical finishing - both with the boot and with the ball in hand.

Goosen has now kicked one out of four - although it must be stressed that he was kicking with an ankle niggle on the weekend, something he played through most of the game with at his own request.

With statistics showing the All Blacks having given away penalties very sparingly in their own 22m area this season, the Boks' ability for long-range efforts are noteworthy, but need a lot more accuracy as even the normal dead-shot long-range cannon Frans Steyn possesses has meant little this season as he has only succeeded with two attempts.

There is no doubt the Boks have to rectify their kicking woes. Draws against England and Argentina this season could have been wins, and Dunedin certainly could have been won had the kicking been more accurate.

The Boks are creating the chances for points. Now they need to be more clinical in claiming them.

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