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.
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
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.