White says he over-coached Super kickers
February 17, 2013
When the Brumbies started spraying goal kicks all over the place in Canberra against the Reds, coach Jake White realised he might have overcrowded his coach's box.
In the 24-6 Super Rugby win over Queensland, White had his kicking coach Damien Hill riding shotgun and instructing his goalkickers throughout the match.
The net result was five missed shots from three different kickers and an assurance from White that Hill's expertise might be restricted to the training paddock from now on.
First-choice sharpshooter Christian Lealiifano was particularly off, missing three, including two sitters.
In the end, the Brumbies used four kickers on opening night and won't want to risk so many missed chances next week against the Melbourne Rebels.
White is a rugby innovator of the highest order, but his frank post-match admission that he might have over-coached his side showed he's far from a mad professor.
"We brought our kicking coach in for the first time into a game and he sat next to me in the box. And he probably won't be again," White said. "I thought having him there, maybe it's a new experience and he warms them up and talks to them. But maybe it's just too much info for them on match day."
"I'm not blaming him ... but having him there and maybe him trying to correct things in a game situation is probably not ideal," White added. "I'll talk to the players after this and see what they feel."
White was confident Lealiifano's jitters were partly down to nerves, given it was his first match back from a long lay-off for a broken ankle. Once his first conversion attempt missed from the sideline, White knew the writing was on the wall.
"Percy Montgomery (former Springbok) is one of the best kickers I've coached, but if he missed the first one you start having doubts," White said. "Christian hasn't played in such a long time."
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