Wallaby Foley finds radar ahead of Bloemfontein Test
AFTER a “hiccup” in Dunedin, Bernard Foley has found his range and that bodes well ahead of a showdown with the sharpshooting Springboks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Foley (pictured) has slotted 15 from 15 in the two Tests since the second Bledisloe, a performance skills coach Mick Byrne simply categorised as an off night.
“I think it’s faith, especially when you have a hiccup,” Byrne said.
“You can’t get concerned about what happened or why it was this or why it was that because you get caught up in stuff that’s not really there. You trust your rhythm, go back and work on what you need to work on.”
Byrne doesn’t harbour any concerns for Reece Hodge’s accuracy, either, putting his two-from-eight at Test level down to the sheer difficulty of the shots he faces when handed the tee.
“When you look at the field, without getting too technical, there are certain parts of the field where kickers kick it at 100 percent, and then as you move out – it’s usually at that 25m mark, a semi-circle around the goal – most kickers are at 100 percent,” Byrne said.
“When you push out to 30m they drop out to about 85. When you get out to 40m, some of them are dropping down to 60, 65.
“When you drop out to 50 they’re about 50, 40, 30 sort of thing.
“If you look at Hodgey’s eight kicks and multiply by the distance of his kick, he’d probably be twice as far as any other kicker.”
So, what’s the merit in taking those low percentage kicks?
“The beauty of that is, if you’ve got a guy who can kick the ball from 55m, and you’re going to go in and try and slow the ball down and you know the guy’s going to kick penalties from there, you might have a second thought about giving away a penalty from 55m out.
“It might just be enough to say to a team, if you want to start giving away penalties here … extend the safe zone.”
The Wallabies will need both Foley and Hodge to have their radar’s working when they tackle the Springboks in Bloemfontein, as accurate goal kicking is one of three non-negotiables against the Boks on their home turf.
“It is a non-negotiable to beat anyone, really,” Byrne said of the physicality challenge. But South Africa bring a physicality. They pride themselves on that. They’re a