Vodacom Super 14

Drotské happy with kicking

2010-03-09 10:26
Naka Drotské (File)
Jóhann Thormählen

Bloemfontein –  Not only did the Cheetahs beat the Hurricanes 28-12 thanks to some accurate goalkicking on Saturday, but they also have the second best kicking success ratio in the Super14.

In the first four rounds of the competition the Cheetahs have succeeded with 84% of their kicks at goal and only the Bulls, or Morné Steyn, boast a better average.

Like catching in cricket, kicking is often the difference between winning and losing in rugby, particularly with the stricter application of the laws.

According to ruggastats.co.za, Naas Olivier and his team-mates have succeeded with 26 out of 31 kicks – 21 out of 24 penalties and 5 out of 7 conversions.

The Bulls have succeeded with 93% of their kicks at goal.

The Cheetahs’ kicking performance against the Hurricanes underlined their hard work in this department.

Olivier and Meyer Bosman gave the visitors a kicking lesson by slotting all their kicks – seven penalties and a conversion.

Poor kicking was often previously at the heart of the Cheetahs’ demise in Super rugby and it now appears as if they have a better chance of winning close games.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské is delighted at the good kicking ratio.

“Kicking was often the cause of us losing games over the last two years. It’s nice to know that you almost have an 85% chance of the kick being over when you get a penalty,” he said.

The Cheetahs’ kicking performance is even better than that of the Crusaders, who are in the fourth place with a success ratio of 79%.

Apart from Steyn, who succeeded with 26 out of 28 kicks and therefore 93%, Olivier is the most accurate kicker in the competition.

While Bosman and Riaan Viljoen (fullback) handle the Cheetahs’ long-distance kicks, Olivier has a success ratio of 83%.

He succeeded with 20 out of 24 kicks – 15 out of 18 penalties and 5 out of 6 conversions.

Olivier has also scored the fourth most points in the competition to date. He has 58 and Steyn is leading on 77.

Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie said it was pleasing to see that hard work on the training field is being rewarded in matches.

“Apart from normal training sessions, the kickers have four kicking sessions per week. They are working hard and I’m happy that they are being rewarded,” he said.

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