Mortlock backs Wallabies goalkickers

Two games into the Rugby Championship and the Wallabies have a glaring problem ahead of the World Cup.

The Wallabies’ goalkickers have resembled weekend hackers at times with overall percentages from the tee at 56 per cent.

It continues an alarming trend this year with Australian teams making up five of the bottom six for goalkicking percentages in the Super Rugby regular season with all below a 70 per cent success rate.

Wallabies and NSW Waratahs five-eighth Bernard Foley started his Rugby Championship campaign by kicking five of his nine attempts in last weekend’s victory over Argentina in Mendoza.

He slotted just one of his four conversions, while his penalty kicking was much sharper with the Waratahs’ No.10 landing four from five.

In the opening Rugby Championship victory over South Africa in Brisbane a week earlier, the Australians kicked just one of their four penalty goals at just 25 per cent.

Matt Giteau slotted his only conversion attempt and missed a penalty goal, while Quade Cooper kicked both his shots after tries but kicked one of three penalty goals.

Former Australia captain and goalkicker Stirling Mortlock has no doubt the Wallabies will be working overtime to address the issue.

“It’s an important cog that goes into the whole machine of your weaponry going into a big campaign,” Mortlock said.

“Goalkicking is particularly important in Test matches because, first and foremost, it’s about pressure and kicking your goals builds scoreboard pressure.

“In a World Cup campaign, things are exacerbated. In particular, the pressure is exacerbated when you go into sudden-death football.

“It’s of such importance historically at the World Cup and I’m sure the players and coaching staff are putting a lot of emphasis on it.”

Mortlock believes it’s too early to judge Australia’s kickers and has backed them to improve.

“The reality is it’s only been two games into the Rugby Championship and those numbers (percentages) are skewed on the downside,” he said.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence the guys will put the work in to build up our capabilities so that it is a strength at the World Cup.”

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