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Should Boshoff have been booted?

The recent Currie Cup Final between Western Province and the Golden Lions was a showpiece of exciting and highly skilled rugby but for a certain flyhalf who was uncharacteristically off-colour.


A Final is always set to be a tight affair where small margins go some way to determining the eventual winner.


It may be scrum ascendency, breakdown dominance or, as is most often the case, taking the points where they are available.


Both teams boasted impressive kicking options with Demetri Catrakilis missing barely more than five kicks all season for Western Province, and Marnitz Boshoff who is famed for his deadly kicking abilities lining up against each other. 


In the first half, the only points that were available to the Lions came in the form of two penalties, in the 13th and 31st minute respectively, both which you would bank on Boshoff converting – but he missed.


A further shot came in the 39th minute when Ruan Combrinck had a shot from over 40 metres out – which also sailed wide.


In the second half Boshoff slowly clawed his way back and slotted a tough touch-line conversion and a further two penalties – but by this stage it was clear that it was just not his day.


An erratic performance at best which was characterised by his poor kicking left many Lions fans asking why not take him off or relieve him of the kicking duties?


So, should Boshoff been booted?


It is a tough call to make and it is, or should be, made by the captain who, as anyone who has played the sport knows, has a very different view than that seen from the lofty heights of the coaches box.


Does the captain retain faith in his jittery player? To what effect? It is a Final and frankly, his feelings be damned, it is time to win the Cup at all costs.


Ruan Combrinck is a more than capable replacement having notched up over 100 points in the Currie Cup himself, he has been dependable all season long and on a day when calmness counted – why not toss him the ball with a chance to go to extra time hanging in the balance?


I am going to play devil's advocate for a bit and say: how about giving a player with the yips another chance and if he gets that confidence-boosting kick over, watch him return to his best almost instantly.


The ability is there and clear to see in Boshoff, it is just that kicking is such a confidence and rhythmic aspect of the game, a bit like golf, that you need one small chance to get back on form.


There are two schools of thought when it comes to nervy kickers – keep persisting, or give them the boot.


The one seems to be the view of most of the ruthless pundits out there while the other, more often than not, is followed by the captain of the team who holds faith in his players.


Is there something we are perhaps not seeing when these guys, who are having a bad day at the office, are persisted with?


Darryn Pollock



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