Sacha heads Bok kickers' accuracy list

football13 June 2024 09:16| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
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Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu © Gallo Images

The Vodacom Bulls’ Chris Smith may have won the Vodacom United Rugby Championship’s golden boot award for kicking accuracy, but when it comes to those selected for the Springbok squad thus far, it is the young Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu that is the most accurate.

The Springboks have selected no less than five flyhalf candidates for the international season and with goalkicking front and centre of any test debate, accuracy is something that will weigh heavily on the Bok coaching minds ahead of a long international season.

At the 2023 World Cup, it was Handre Pollard’s accuracy - precisely in games against France and England - that helped the Boks win back to back World Cups and it will be no less important with a double test extravaganza against Ireland and a Rugby Championship awaiting the Boks this season.

The stats company Oval Insights provided the raw data and twitter rugby analyst Angus Usher did a deep dive into the kicking stats of all the South African kickers this season and came up with some surprising results.

The context may spark debate, as their insights cover only goalkickers who have had a minimum of 20 goal kick attempts in the season and while sample size differs between players, it also doesn’t take into account weather differences.

Altitude kicking is very different to kicking at posts in winter, for instance, and long range kicks are also not factored.

The Boks have selected Pollard, his understudy Manie Libbok, Sharks flyhalf Siya Masuku, Lions pivot Jordan Henderson and the versatile Feinberg-Mngomezulu as their flyhalves with a clear idea of looking towards the future and in particular the defence of the World Cup in Australia in 2027.


And while Feinberg-Mngomezulu is the most accurate, his sample size is much lower than the other candidates, having only taken 21 kicks. That may not say much but he is certainly a candidate towards the future.

Outside the Bok selection, Chris Smith succeeded with 37 of his 43 kicks at goal, giving him a season best of 86 per cent - 90 per cent if you take kicks in the URC alone.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu is second with 85.7 per cent, having succeeded with 18 of his 21 kicks while veteran flyhalf Pollard, kicking for Leicester Tigers, has been just as prominent, with 60 successful kicks out of 73, giving him an 82.2 per cent return.

Masuku is next on the Bok radar, with 78.3 per cent with 47 successful kicks out of 60 this past season. Masuku was particularly accurate in the EPCR Challenge Cup, which the Sharks won, with 28 out 32 kicks successful, and an 87.5 per cent result in Cup competitions. In the URC his accuracy drops to 67.9 per cent.

Jordan Hendrikse’s rate is almost the same, with 44 out of 58 kicks giving him a 75.9 per cent success rate while Manie Libbok drops further down the list with just a 72.6 per cent rate of success, which still isn’t bad by international standards (61/84 kicks successful)

Outside the Springbok training group, there are some notable returns thrown up by the stats - including Robert du Preez at Sale (81.3 per cent, 26/32) and Johan Goosen at the Bulls (81/101, 79.2 per cent) while the Lions’ Sanele Nohamba is at 75.7 per cent (53/70).

Curwin Bosch, who is leaving the Sharks, is at the bottom of The Oval Insights list with 67.9 per cent success (38/56) for the season.