Two schools of thought on place of dropped goal

The All Blacks did not attempt a dropped goal late during Sunday's Bledisloe Cup test in...
The All Blacks did not attempt a dropped goal late during Sunday's Bledisloe Cup test in Wellington. Photo: Getty Images
The All Blacks had a chance to win the first Bledisloe Cup test on Sunday but refused to go for a dropped goal, trying to score a try and ultimately came up short. Jeff Cheshire  says they were foolish to not look for the posts while  Steve Hepburn believes the try option should always win out.

For the droppie

It feels as if the All Blacks have just done away with the dropped goal completely.

Time up, scores tied, right under the posts — if you are not going to take one then, when are you ever going to?

It was a wet day, the attack had looked disjointed the whole game and Australia’s defence had been tough to crack.

Why risk making a mistake when there was an easy alternative?

The Springboks and England both would have won that game.

Sometimes it feels as if the All Blacks do not take dropped goals for the sake of not taking them.

It is almost as if they are too proud to.

That does not mean they should be like England circa 2003, lining them up from 35m out 20 minutes into the game.

But you can still play attacking rugby and have a dropped goal as an option when you need it.

On Sunday, the All Blacks did need it — but it clearly was not an option.

It is hard to know if they can’t make one, or if they just won’t.

If they won’t, you have to ask why not?

If there was no-one on the field who could make one — Richie Mo’unga has never made a dropped goal in a first-class game — you also have to ask why not?

Surely setting up for one is something the team practices.

It turns out it doesn’t.

And surely it is something at least two or three players need to have in their game, or at least be working on.

It had been the one hole in Dan Carter’s game for years.

By the end of his career it had become a genuine weapon that was a massive factor in the 2015 World Cup win.

It seems to have disappeared with him.

A dropped goal does not need to be a primary option. But it is a legitimate part of the game and one the All Blacks need back in their game.

Hunt for the tryline

Sure, a dropped goal and with it a win would have kept the pressure off Ian Foster on Sunday night in Wellington.

But this is New Zealand.

The All Blacks are above the petty and boring dropped goal.

The game is all about scoring tries, getting five-pointers.

The All Blacks are the brave colonials, not living in the homeland. The men in black set the agenda: you win games by scoring tries.

Those who know a bit of history of the game always feel a tad awkward when the All Blacks victory over the British Lions in 1959 at Carisbrook gets mentioned. The All Blacks won that game through six Don Clarke penalties though the Lions scored four tries.

It was almost a crime to not score a try and still win a game even back then.

The game has evolved and the rules are now about fast, quick, accurate play. The game is about power and pace. To be honest, it is hard to see how the dropped goal is even still in the rule book.

It is outdated, a throwback to a different time. The Poms and French still appear to love them but they like frogs legs and stout.

It was also going to be awfully hard to kick a dropped goal on Sunday in what was —surprise, surprise — bleak conditions in Wellington.

Actually more worrying should have been the complete lack of composure and accuracy in those dying minutes when the All Blacks were pressing for a try. But then again with traffic cop and pointer extraordinaire TJ Perenara on the field it was entirely predictable.

The All Black style way is a couple of hit-ups and then going wide. Unfortunately the home side was too slow and cluttered to get that done.

Get back to that and there will be no debate about the dropped goal.


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