The superior assuredness and accuracy off the kicking tee of Handre Pollard over Beauden Barrett … adding in the lurking Frans Steyn “long-range bomber” factor.
That looks increasingly feasibly to prove a key game-tilter in South Africa’s next gigantic clash with New Zealand, at Yokohama on September 21 in the early pool phase of the World Cup.
Just over a year ago, it would have been understandable for many observers – in either country – to scoff at the notion that place-kicking proficiency might be the pivotal factor in determining the scoreboard situation upon final whistle between these foes.
Up to that point, the All Blacks had gone through an extended period of very noticeable mastery over their time-honoured fierce rivals – to the extent that points achieved off the tee often had desperately little relevance.
The now 32-year-old had landed some important, notably long-range goals early in the Tri-Nations-deciding encounter at Hamilton in 2009 (SA edged it 32-29) and he offers something no current All Black is especially renowned for: the ability to bang the ball over the crossbar from 55-60 metres or occasionally even more.
That natural power off the tee hasn’t diminished with the passage of time for the Montpellier-based customer.
The assuring alliance of Pollard as established, first-choice kicker from closer ranges and Steyn as a possible game-breaker from extraordinary distance?
It’s a good one for South Africa to carry into RWC 2019, even if they will need all the other aspects of their battleplan to be highly polished as well …
Read More >> RWC: Boks’ BIG advantage for NZ clash