CHRIS KIRWAN SAYS: Kicking is a dying art
9:10am Thursday 3rd January 2013 in Sport
THE FESTIVE period has left Newport Gwent Dragons kicking themselves after a pair of defeats that were down to their failings with the boot.
At Cardiff Arms Park it was Rhys Patchell and Jason Tovey who won the kicking battle for the Blues on Boxing Day.
It was the same again at Rodney Parade on New Year’s Eve thanks to the right peg of Dan Biggar.
The Wales fly-half was exceptional, keeping the Dragons pinned back in their own half and showing why he deserves to be the man in 10 come the Six Nations.
He showed a nice variety of kicks to keep the foot down on the hosts’ throats – and crucially didn’t seem to be programmed.
Lewis Robling, on the other hand, looked uncomfortable and a charge down looked on the cards long before the Ospreys’ match-clincher.
He’s far from the only one in Wales.
Think back to the closing stages of December’s defeat to Australia, the ball was passed back into the 22 to Rhys Priestland and he drilled it long, after all, he had to, didn’t he?
Nonsense, but the art of bouncing the ball into touch seems to have died.
It’s long been a shortcoming of Gavin Henson’s game, he almost slaps the ball downfield with power rather than finesse.
We are frequently told that a kick is only as good as its chase, but that is a mantra that gives a get-out clause to the man putting boot to leather.
Everybody loves seeing flowing moves that result in glorious tries but a graceful, spiralling kick can be just as pleasing to the eye.
But unfortunately, the likes of Biggar, Ronan O’Gara and Berrick Barnes appear to be in a minority these days.