Discipline could prove costly if kickers remain true to form

Former Highlanders first-five Hayden Parker has been kicking superbly for the Sunwolves this...
Former Highlanders first-five Hayden Parker has been kicking superbly for the Sunwolves this season. Photo: Getty Images
Players in tonight's match in Tokyo should be extra careful of giving away penalties as it could be costly.

Actually it is not a could - it is a certainty three points will come along fairly regularly.

The Highlanders and the Sunwolves between them have the best goalkicking records in the competition.

The Sunwolves have a 95% goalkicking success rate and all up have just missed two shots at goal all year.

The Highlanders are not far behind at 89%, having missed just four kicks in total.

The majority of the kicking for both teams have been carried out by players who have worn the blue and gold.

Hayden Parker, who has played 47 games for Otago and 30 games for the Highlanders, has kicked 34 goals from 36 attempts. He had a streak last year of 38 successful kicks in a row and then got more than 30 in a row over last season and this current season as he just could not seem to miss.

That record led to the rather unrealistic talk from former All Black coach John Hart that Parker should come into the All Blacks for a replacement for the injured Damian McKenzie.

Parker (29) is signed to play for Kobe in the Japan Top league next year but after the Sunwolves wind up next year who knows where he will go?

The Highlanders' goalkicking duties have been shared between Josh Ioane, Bryn Gatland and Marty Banks.

Ioane has kicked 17 from 20 attempts, a good effort considering he was not a recognised goalkicker only a few years ago.

Ioane had not missed a kick in his past two games although he has the advantage of getting to kick in the calm conditions Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Banks has successfully kicked all his 13 attempts while Gatland has missed one of his three attempts this season.


 

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