Drop goals sweeping New Zealand
SPOTLIGHT: The drop goal has always been an integral part of the identity of South African Rugby.
Just a look at South African Rugby history one can not deny the importance of the drop goal.
From Naas Botha producing four drop goals in the 24-18 win over Transvaal (now Golden Lions) for the Blue Bulls’ 14th Currie Cup triumph in 1987 to Joel Stransky’s drop goal that gave South Africa a 15-12 extra-time win over New Zealand at Ellis Park in 1995.
One can’t deny the magic of the game-changing feat.
While South Africa, and Northern Hemisphere countries, especially England, continue to utilise the drop goal over the years, New Zealand sides have had the tendency to ignore the old-age feature.
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Thus far it was certainly not a bad omen – their Super Rugby sides have dominated the tournament while the All Blacks have been No.1 in the world, prior to the 2019 World Cup.
Nonetheless, whatever their relationship is with the drop goal it seems like the lockdown period along with the introduction of the 10-minute golden point extra time rule, has motivated Kiwi kickers to perfect the art – which is only good news for the likes of Ian Foster.
According to RugbyPass, there was not a single successful drop-goal attempt among the New Zealand franchises in 2018 and 2019.
However, after just two weeks of Super Rugby Aotearoa competition, the Blues, Hurricanes, Highlanders, and Chiefs all successfully made use of this stunning passage of play.
In the opening match of the Super Rugby Aotearoa, the Highlanders secured a narrow 28-27 win over the Chiefs thanks to a 79th-minute drop goal by Bryn Gatland.
It was an intense 80 minutes of rugby which saw the lead exchanged five times just before All Blacks playmaker Damian McKenzie and Gatland exchanged drop goals.
In the second match, there were a few attempts taken by Blues marque player Beauden Barrett and flyhalf Otere Black when they hosted the Hurricanes. However, both failed to make it through the uprights.
In week two, the drop-goal frenzy continued. Barrett again tried and this time slotted a drop goal during their win over Chiefs.
While Hurricanes Jackson Garden-Bachop added his name to the list with a perfect drop goal during the match against Crusaders.
Additional source: RugbyPass
A look at all the drop goals of the Super Rugby Aotearoa:
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) June 22, 2020