In the game of rugby, the art of kicking is a crucial skill that can make or break a match. A successful kick requires precision, technique, and nerves of steel. Over the years, the sport has witnessed remarkable kickers who have showcased their mastery in the art of converting penalty goals, drop goals, and crucial conversions. In this article, we pay homage to the 10 best rugby kickers of all time, whose accuracy and composure have left an indelible mark on the sport.
- Jonny Wilkinson: Jonny Wilkinson, the English fly-half, is widely regarded as one of the greatest kickers in rugby history. His technique and focus were unparalleled, especially evident in his iconic drop goal to secure England’s Rugby World Cup victory in 2003. Wilkinson’s ability to convert penalties and conversions with exceptional accuracy made him a legend of the game.
- Dan Carter: Dan Carter, the New Zealand fly-half, is renowned for his extraordinary kicking prowess. A record point-scorer in international rugby, Carter’s precision in striking the ball, coupled with his calm demeanor, made him a true master of the kicking game. His long-range penalties and conversions were a constant threat to opposing teams.
- Diego Dominguez: Diego Dominguez, an Argentine-Italian fly-half, was revered for his kicking abilities during the 1990s and early 2000s. Dominguez’s accuracy and consistency were remarkable, often rescuing victories for his teams with crucial kicks. His exploits in the international arena and his club career earned him a place among the best kickers in rugby history.
- Grant Fox: Grant Fox, a former New Zealand fly-half, was an influential figure in the 1980s. His technique and precision in goal-kicking were unparalleled during his time. Fox played a pivotal role in guiding the All Blacks to victory in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987, showcasing his ability to handle pressure situations.
- Neil Jenkins: Neil Jenkins, a Welsh fly-half, was renowned for his ability to score points with remarkable accuracy. His excellent kicking skills from both the tee and open play made him a vital asset for Wales and the British and Irish Lions. Jenkins’ record as the highest point-scorer in Welsh rugby history is a testament to his kicking prowess.
- Gavin Hastings: Gavin Hastings, a Scottish fullback, was a dominant force in the 1980s and early 1990s. His long-range kicking and accuracy were instrumental in many memorable victories for Scotland. Hastings’ composed and powerful kicking style made him one of the most feared kickers of his era.
- Andrew Mehrtens: Andrew Mehrtens, a New Zealand fly-half, was known for his exceptional accuracy and skill in all aspects of kicking. His ability to convert penalties and conversions, as well as execute pinpoint drop goals, made him a crucial component of the All Blacks’ success during his career. Mehrtens’ consistency and calmness under pressure were hallmarks of his game.
- Michael Lynagh: Michael Lynagh, an Australian fly-half, was a formidable kicker who played a significant role in the Wallabies’ success. His ability to kick with accuracy and distance was a constant threat to opposition teams. Lynagh’s contributions to Australian rugby, including their Rugby World Cup victory in 1991, solidified his place among the great kickers of the game.
- Stephen Jones: Stephen Jones, a Welsh fly-half, showcased remarkable kicking abilities throughout his career. His consistency and accuracy from the tee and his composure under pressure made him a vital asset for Wales and the British and Irish Lions. Jones’ ability to score points with precision earned him the admiration of fans and peers alike.
- Hugo Porta: Hugo Porta, an Argentine fly-half, was a pioneer in the art of kicking during the 1970s and 1980s. His exceptional technique, combined with his ability to kick from all angles and distances, made him a formidable opponent. Porta’s contributions to Argentine rugby and his legacy as one of the game’s greatest kickers remain unrivaled.
The art of kicking in rugby requires immense skill, composure, and precision. The 10 kickers mentioned above represent the epitome of excellence in this specialized aspect of the game. Their ability to score crucial points and execute accurate kicks in high-pressure situations has left an indelible mark on rugby history. Through their exceptional skills and remarkable achievements, these kickers have elevated the art of kicking to new heights and continue to inspire future generations of rugby players.