In a recent video that we posted there were a number of common threads running through the comments; one was Beauden Barrett’s goalkicking.

Before we go any further, I think Beauden Barrett is one of the finest players ever to don the Black jersey. I also think he is arguably the finest impact player of all time for any team. Of ALL TIME. He is also in the first three or four players I would write down when selecting the All Blacks.

This all said, his goal kicking is a concern. In the recently completed series against the British & Irish Lions, he was hitting 75% of his kicks. A very respectable percentage. Except when you compare it to goal kickers who have kicked their side to victory in World Cup finals. The following graphic highlights (by-in-large) these percentages, from the professional era.

The kicking percentages of World Cup winning kickers in the professional era (Fran Steyn also kicked 100%)
The kicking percentages of World Cup winning kickers in the professional era (Fran Steyn also kicked 100%)

At this juncture, there are three areas that concern me for the All Blacks when looking forward to RWC19:

  • 1. The midfield; but that is a different discussion altogether
  • 2. The goal kicking of the All Blacks
  • 3. Injuries. This though can be ruled out for discussion because all you can do is plan for the worst and hope for the best.

So, to the goal-kicking. There are options for the All Blacks, but with each option, there is an impact somewhere else.
Do you play Jordie at 15 and give him the duties? What happens to Ben Smith in this instance? Does he move to the wing? What happens to Israel Dagg?
Do you play Lima at 10 and give him the duties? This would presumably entail moving Beauden to fullback as he needs to be on the field (in my opinion)?
Does McKenzie feature? He is a world class goal kicker, but would he do enough to force out Smith at 15 and reshuffle the back three? Or would you risk him at 10?

As you can see there are a few options. None of them great. Obviously, the best option is to have Beauden Barrett find his kicking boots shortly and give himself two years of confidence leading into the tournament.

We are not the only ones who are concerned; Laurence Kiri Cameron writes; “B. Barrett cannot be given the kicking duties anymore, especially with the 2019 WC 2-years out which can be won/lost by a kick!“.

Similarly, Brandon Maher asks the question; “Is Beauden Barretts goal kicking becoming a problem that could cost us future big games?

What are your thoughts on this non-trivial question? We would love to hear them.

From The Shed

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Author: Steven Prescott

I am a total sports fanatic; it is as simple as that. I love all sports, and when I’m not sitting at my computer living my dream with The 1014, I am planning adventures. The last time I did this I ended up convincing my wife to cycle 26,125km across three continents, and 22 countries with me as part of the Pedalling Prescotts.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I personally like the idea of Sopoaga going into 10 with B. Barrett moving to 15. I believe Barrrett’s kicking consistency is too much of a wildcard, while Sopoaga is moulding into a consistent international first five and additional game time will only improve this. But of course, that complicates the back three significantly.

    I believe Ben Smith is the best fullback in the world at the moment, however with Sopoaga starting at 10 and B. Barrett at 15, he would be pushed to the wing – but the wing seems like a lack of utilization for him.

    I also believe that Dagg is now a winger. Whilst he is an excellent fullback, he just doesn’t have the same speed or skill he had in 2013. But that said, the talent of All Black wingers is significant (Ioane, Milner-Skudder, Naholo, Savea, Smith etc) and whether Dagg can hold his position will be an area of interest.

    I believe the ideal backline would be as follows:

    9. A. Smith
    10. L. Sopoaga
    11. B. Smith
    12. R. Crotty
    13. A. Lienert-Brown
    14. R. Ioane
    15. B. Barrett
    With Naholo or Milner-Skudder as the reserve outside back.

    • Thanks for this comment Malachai. I like the look of Sopoaga at 10. He is solid and does all the basics well. He also has that ability to ghost through gaps and create space. He has also guided a team to a Super title which should not be underestimated. I have a couple of questions though:
      1. Is there a reason for moving Ioane to the right wing? Perhaps we have missed something in our analysis. Ioane has to start, as does Ben Smith
      2. Any thought of SBW as the reserve cover? Or could you have him and Naholo or NMS because you essentially already have two 10s on the park?
      This is excellent. Cheers

  2. Ironic that his kicking for the Hurricanes this year has been brilliant. He’ll never be as good as Carter here, but I don’t think he’ll be as bad at RWC 2019 as we first thought.

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