Oh for the box kick Down Under

ThoroughsTouws Roar Rookie

By ThoroughsTouws, ThoroughsTouws is a Roar Rookie New author!

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    Now that the dust has settled on the Wallabies’ trip to the UK, it is surely time for Michael Cheika and his backline coach, Stephen Larkham, to face and address a glaring problem.

    The problem is that their otherwise world class No.9, Will Genia, cannot kick.

    Just watching Ben Youngs and Danny Care for England, Connor Murray for Ireland – and throw in for good measure the brilliant Aaron Smith for New Zealand – you are witnessing masters of the box kick, now an essential attacking weapon.

    Box kicks are of crucial importance in gaining field position and reducing pressure. They are an increasingly essential component of a halfback’s arsenal.

    Not only can Genia not kick the ball high enough, but his kicking technique is so poor that the ball is often charged down.

    I agree with those who think the large defeats by the Wallabies to England and Scotland were not a fair reflection of the progress made by the Wallabies since Cheika inherited the post-Super Rugby rabble a couple of months before the UK tour.

    The Wallabies have made significant strides, as illustrated by their latter games against New Zealand.

    Imagine how much better things would be with Genia having an effective box kick added to his armoury.

    My suggestion is for Cheika to do what he did for his pack a few years ago – hiring the outstanding Mario Ledesma as specialist coach – and to similarly import a specialist halfback coach to work with Genia and teach him, and all squad No.9s, the box kick.

    For me this would be a mouth watering prospect. Australia would overcome one of its crucial handicaps, enabling a more direct charge to the next world cup.

    What do you think Roarers? What should Cheika and the Australians do to improve Genia’s box kick?

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    The Crowd Says (64)

    • January 1st 2018 @ 8:17am
      Misha said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      Genia is on borrowed time – way past his due date…the BBC sports recent Ritchie McCaws commentary on the 2015 final was interesting in that he said that Genia is well known for being susceptible to early pressure…

      • January 1st 2018 @ 9:09am
        ThoroughsTouws said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        Thanks Misha

        Genia in 2017 didn’t resemble the painfully slow service of 2015.
        He must have received coaching in France since his overall game in 2017 – kicking aside – has been outstanding.

        • January 1st 2018 @ 9:22am
          Fionn said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

          I agree, aside from poor games at the beginning and end of the season.

          Cheika needs to manage his top players better, and he needs to develop a backup halfback to Genia that he can trust (it is entirely obvious that he does not trust Phipps, which is why he gets so few minutes).

          If Cheika wants Genia to make the WC then he needs to manage Genia’s schedule better.

          • January 1st 2018 @ 1:14pm
            ThoroughsTouws said | January 1st 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

            Excellent suggestion, Fion. Look what NZ did to manage Carter.

          • January 2nd 2018 @ 12:01pm
            Kane said | January 2nd 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

            He also needs to develop a back up to Foley that he can trust.

    • January 1st 2018 @ 8:28am
      Fionn said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      I think the box kick is an overrated tactic.

      It was better back circa 07-09 when Fourie du Preez was the undisputed master and the laws allowed the chasers more of a challenge. But now it is a much less effective technique, even with masters of it, such as Murray.

      Even watching the Aviva Premiership – where the majorit of the halfbacks are much better at box kicking than super rugby halfbacks – so often it simply hands the ball to the other team 15-20m downfield with a perfect attacking opportunity. Bath discovered this when, chasing the match and within a converted try of victory with about 5min to go, they finally accomplished a turnover only to box kick the ball to about halfway. Wasps got the ball and immediately broke through Bath’s unset defensive line and got within about 5m of scoring.

      I think the technique is at its best when the halfback can kick the ball directly into touch from the 22 to near halfway. And a 10 that can kick well is just as useful. Otherwise, it leads to an opposition advantage as often as the opposite.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 8:51am
        Dave_S said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

        HNY, Fionn!

        In addition to my thoughts below, also agree the 10 is usually as well or better placed for the kick. But perhaps the author was assuming the 10would be Foley?

        • January 1st 2018 @ 8:52am
          Dave_S said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

          And I’ve think I’ve just won the race for the first dig at Foley for 2018 ?

          • January 1st 2018 @ 9:14am
            Fionn said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

            I’m glad you beat me to it 😀 . Happy NY to you also!

            I’m just hoping it is either Lealiifano or Lance.

            If not, then let’s hope that the 12 can kick well instead.

            • January 1st 2018 @ 9:53am
              Ruckin Oaf said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:53am | ! Report

              The kick isn’t the important thing as much as the chase.

              Maybe we’re just missing Pocock ???

      • January 1st 2018 @ 8:57am
        Taylorman said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        Well its been very effective for the ABs at times Smith using it significantly. When its done well its simply another ‘restart’ option- restart the game in a better position with possession.

        • January 1st 2018 @ 9:12am
          Fionn said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          At times, sure. It has also provided an advantage to the opposition on many occasions that Smith has used it also, which was my entire point. It’s an overrated tactic.

          Smith’s box kicking is most effective when used to clear into touch to near halfway also.

          • January 2nd 2018 @ 10:55am
            Taylorman said | January 2nd 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

            It might be oveused but like any tactic, it has its advantages and disadvantages the point here being that one should have it in ones armoury as an option. Downgrading it just because its done poorly isnt helping much either.

        • January 1st 2018 @ 9:13am
          Dave_S said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

          True, and if and when the WBs show their defence reorganisation and breakdown skills are as good as the ABs, they can have the luxury of adding the box kick back into the armoury. Until then, there are higher priorities for areas of improvement.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 9:14am
        ThoroughsTouws said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        So true Fionn when the box kick is less than perfect. But when done properly, it can be a major attacking weapon. There is of course the danger for the follower to be yellow or red carded.

        • January 1st 2018 @ 11:20am
          Ray said | January 1st 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          I don’t see it as an attacking weapon, just desperation or playing by numbers.
          The halfback always sets up his body so deliberately that everyone in the stadium know that he is going to boxkick, his team knows that he is going to boxkick, but mysteriously the opposition has no idea and it is a complete surprise to them. Some tactic!

          I think we should have a team score for kicking after every game with the 5/8 held accountable and it may go like this:
          Short Kick
          Contested and possession retained: 4 points
          Contested and possession lost: 0 points
          No contest and possession lost: -4 points.
          Long Kicks
          40 metre gain into touch from within the 22: 4 points
          40 metre gain into touch: 3 points
          20 metre gain and into touch: 1 point
          20 m gain + lost possession: -4 points
          40 m gain + lost possession: – 1 points

          • January 1st 2018 @ 1:17pm
            ThoroughsTouws said | January 1st 2018 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

            Interesting idea Ray- that would really test the kickers and chasers!

          • January 2nd 2018 @ 12:03pm
            Kane said | January 2nd 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

            One thing that I did see a lot of improvement in, in 2017 for the Wallabies, was the kick chase. Before then it was almost non existant.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 9:40am
        Real wallaby Supporter said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        I agree Fionn. It is a poor percentage play, only useful when you have no other options. The poms use it a lot in their premiership games because they have very little idea about adventurous attacking back line play. If in doubt box kick! Boring!! It turns me off big time. Where is the attraction for fans in a box kick? I see the half back’s back leg go back ready for the box kick and I groan.
        On the plus side, Genia’s box kick in the RWC final led to one of the WBs tries. Sort of deflates the point of this article a bit! And before you reply that this was an isolated success of the Genia box kick, that’s the way I like it – used sparingly and as somewhat of a surprise.

        • January 1st 2018 @ 9:55am
          Ruckin Oaf said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

          Isolated success ?

          One more time ……

          • January 1st 2018 @ 9:59am
            Fionn said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

            I love that try. It was such an awful box kick that barely went 10m and had short Pocock taking on very tall McCaw.

            What a try. That was peak Deans, and I honestly believed the team was capable of winning the RWC after that match. Shame about how it all turned out.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 4:01pm
        hein cloete said | January 1st 2018 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

        Agreed. The box kick should be called – handing hard won ball back to the opposition. The most stupid kick ever. The South African scrumhalves kick the ball away continuously, then breathlessly Joel Stransky says – what a clever kick. Someone should explain to me the purpose of a box kick, because having watched rugby for 50 years, i just can’t figure it out.

        • January 1st 2018 @ 9:02pm
          DavSA said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

          Full agreement here Hein . You take 100% possession and immediately convert it into 50% or less. Cronje is just so predictable in this that opposition sides can reliably plan . It almost goes to ..and dare I say it….a lack of confidence. Stransky by the way is paid to promote rugby for his channel. Take whatever he says with a pinch of Durban sea salt.

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 12:26pm
        Markie362 said | January 2nd 2018 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

        I agree.i hate the box kick and cringe when as does it.opens the play up for the opposition

      • Roar Guru

        January 4th 2018 @ 8:11pm
        Timbo (L) said | January 4th 2018 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

        I have a more Holistic view:
        You need to have every tool in the shed available and you need to demonstrate that you are prepared to use them.
        It forces the opposition to set a wider defense to cater for every possibility, thinning it out, making it easier to attack.

        It, like sniping from the base of the ruck should be used sparingly, and at a time when the defense is weak in those areas.

        A box kick should also be accompanied by a couple of burly blokes and a winger at top speed to make it a worthwhile exercise. The Chase part of a kick chase.

    • January 1st 2018 @ 8:47am
      Dave_S said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      Happy New Year, ThoroughsTouws.

      It’s certainly food for thought.

      For me, the box kick has to be either performed very well or not used at all.

      I agree it’s effective on occasions,but I’m happy to see it shelved altogether by the WBs.

      Even when the execution is adequate, the return on investment is often so marginal as to be pointless.

      Defences are well schooled in impeding the kick chasers, so we don’t see catchers caught and isolated so often now.

      Even worse, catchers have most of the rights when it comes to taking the ball in the air, so there are also good odds on a chaser getting carded due to a poorly executed tackle or contest in the air.

      It also often results in good counter-attack ball – Folau grins from ear to ear whenever one comes his way.

      So it’s a no from me.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 9:13am
        Fionn said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        Agree wholeheartedly.

    • January 1st 2018 @ 8:55am
      Rugnut said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      Why the box kick only. They are just as pathetic with line kicks, place kicks, kick offs, 22 drop outs and general down field kicks.

      If they are going to bring in coaching staff, also add skills requirements in tackling, passing, cleaning out.

      Let’s continue to add to the coaching team whilst avoiding the real issue of Chieka’s lack of ability.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 9:17am
        ThoroughsTouws said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        Gee Rugnut, that’s a bit tough on the Wallabies and Cheik. Look at the rubbish he “inherits” after Super 18. If you are talking about coaching, please , oh please, can you do something to get the Tahs a decent coach!

        • January 1st 2018 @ 12:57pm
          Rugnut said | January 1st 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report


          Force Tahs and Reds are the real losers in the Aussie SR comp. can’t believe the Rebel’s fortunes.

          Poor management from ARU (as usual)

          Tahs and Reds will also have struggling coaches.

          • January 1st 2018 @ 1:21pm
            ThoroughsTouws said | January 1st 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

            Yes Rugnut, the Tahs just won’t get rid of Gibson. They won’t admit that a good assistant coach (under Cheka) did not cut it as head coach. Notice how he sits alone when watching the games? What sort of message does that send??

    • January 1st 2018 @ 9:21am
      Pete Dossinger said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      Interesting comments against the box kick by the scrum half. However when done well – think Connor Murray, it’s a formidable weapon. Ireland and the Lions results this year prove this point. Murray kicks at least 6 times a game without intending to find touch.

      The laws designed to protect the ball catcher obviously make it more difficult and dangerous for the attacking team to regain the ball, as mentioned by others. However when one has such a gifted athlete like Israel Folau in the side, who can jump higher than almost all others, it is definitely something the Wallabies should explore. One can just picture Folau regaining the ball, Genia sending it wide and thereby playing to the Wallabies backline strengths. This would definitely add a new dimension to a team that wants to play wide but does so with mixed success.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 12:59pm
        ThoroughsTouws said | January 1st 2018 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

        Thanks Pete Dossinger, very well put. Filou can get higher than anyone else in world rugby so it would be criminal for Cheka not to do something for the Wallabies to have the right kind of box kick up the sleeve.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 1:40pm
        Ruckin' Oaf said | January 1st 2018 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

        That’s it there are a lot of factors to a “good” box kick.

        Like the ability of the chasers to regain possession or the ability of the forwards to provide a good screen for the kicker.

    • January 1st 2018 @ 9:23am
      TC said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

      I agree with those who think the large defeats by the Wallabies to England and Scotland were not a fair reflection of the progress made by the Wallabies since Cheika inherited the post-Super Rugby rabble a couple of months before the UK tour.


      Cheika had them for the June series – where the fitness question came in, so he flogged them (excuse for big loss to Scotland and near loss to Italy) – then he had them for the rugby championship, where the one good NZ dead rubber result occurred (plus two draws with SA). So, I’m confused how the Super Rugby rabble of months previously lead to the pathetic results months later after Cheika had had control for so long.

      He talks about playing the Australian way, but they’re one of the most styleless Wallabies I can think of.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 9:26am
        Fionn said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        Our tactics often seem to be ‘give the ball to Beale or Folau and hope that Beale, Folau or Genia produce some magic’.

      • Roar Guru

        January 1st 2018 @ 2:09pm
        Cadfael said | January 1st 2018 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

        He’s had them since the spring tour, 2014. Many of the problems he had then are still obvious today. Kicking is still as bad now as it ever was. Line kicks from penalties don’t go out, kicks from generall play inside the 22, stay in rather than go out, box kicking ineffectual. The need for a specialist kicking coach, particularly at SR level is a must.

        Hopefully, the Tahs defence will omprove now that Grey has gone sadly he’s gone to the Wallabies.

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