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England flyhalf questions Cheslin Kolbe-style charge down

George Ford has raised a huge concern for goalkickers following England’s win over Wales in the Six Nations Round Two match.

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The flyhalf’s conversion attempt was charged down by Wales during the match at Twickenham at the weekend.

Ford was lining up the easy conversion of Ben Earl’s 20th-minute try and having taken a small step left as part of his pre-kick ritual, wing Rio Dyer raced off the line and booted the ball off his tee.

England’s flyhalf looked to referee James Doleman to intervene, but the New Zealand official instead told him that his movement meant Wales were free to charge down the kick.

This is not the first time this occurred.

During the World Cup quarterfinal, Cheslin Kolbe made an incredible run to charge down Thomas Ramos’ conversion and deny France two points. In the end, the Boks recorded a 29-28 victory and secured a semifinal spot.

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And while Kolbe was not the first person to do this, the Bok certainly has set a trend, especially in pressure cooking matches.

Fortunately for Ford, England managed to walk away with a 16-14 victory, but the flyhalf was far from happy with the charge down.

He stated that goalkickers are now compelled to modify their routines.

“It doesn’t make sense to me. I’m trying to use the full shot-clock time as we’ve got men in the [sin] bin,” Ford said, with Ollie Chessum and Ethan Roots both having been off the field at the time.

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“You’re at the back of your stance, you have your routine, and if adjusting your feet like that is initiating your run-up then.

“Some of us kickers are going to have to stand like statues at the back of our run-up now.

“As a kicker, you want to get a feel and sometimes you don’t quite feel right at the back of your run-up, so you adjust it a bit and think ‘right, I’ve got it now’. You want your chest to be at the ball and all those things.

“What it means for us kickers is that we’ve got to be ultra diligent with our setup and process because if they’re going to go down that route and look for stuff like that, we can’t afford that.”

In terms of the legality of the charge, World Rugby revealed that any movement in “any direction” enables the defending side to begin their run.

According to Law 8.14: “All players retire to their goal line and do not overstep that line until the kicker moves in any direction to begin their approach to kick. When the kicker does this, they may charge or jump to prevent a goal but must not be physically supported by other players in these actions.”

*Additional source: PA 

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