Former Springbok captain Naas Botha says there is a simple solution for Damian Willemse’s goal-kicking issues.
The Stormers flyhalf was successful with only one of his four kicks at goal during last weekend’s 13-0 victory over the Vodacom Bulls, and missed three out of six attempts at goal in the opening game against the Hurricanes.
While Willemse’s inconsistent goal-kicking displays have not proved costly as yet, coach John Dobson has admitted that it is an issue that needs addressing.
On SuperSport’s weekly SuperRugby programme on Monday night, the former flyhalf great analysed Willemse’s technique and provided some advice on how he could overcome his current problems.
‘He drops too low [when lining up]. His hips are falling down – if you can say it like that – and as soon as the hips drop, then the foot can’t come through properly,’ said Botha, while reviewing footage of Willemse kicking during the north-south derby.
‘His upper body just needs to be a bit higher, which will allow his hips to come inward. He falls completely, it’s almost like he’s falling over his left hip. If you fall with your hip, then your shoulders also fall over. And all that the right foot can do is follow the shoulders.
‘It’s the same in golf – if you step left, then you’ll hit the ball left; you’re not going to hit the ball right while stepping left. Biologically the body just doesn’t work like that.’
A visibly despondent Willemse was eventually relieved of the goal-kicking duties following a couple of missed attempts against the Bulls, with fullback Dillyn Leyds taking over for Seabelo Senatla’s try – an attempt he also missed.
However, Botha, who played 28 Tests between 1980 and 1992, believes that there is a simple solution for the Stormers pivot’s goal-kicking troubles.
‘All he needs to do is simple – just remain nice and upright,’ added Botha. ‘He’s showed us in the past he can definitely kick, he’s one of the kickers who can kick really far – on the highveld he can easily kick it over from 50-60m.
‘He has that technique, but somewhere his [left] shoulder drops, with the hip bending, which means his [kicking] leg sways to the side and then he misses to the left.’
The Stormers face the Lions at Ellis Park this weekend, with Saturday’s kick-off scheduled for 3:05pm.
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