A kicking coach is on Wales’ wishlist ahead of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand this autumn after it proved to be a weak spot throughout the Ladies’s Six Nations.
Notably evident within the 10-8 defeat to Italy on Tremendous Saturday, the place just about all of Italy’s factors got here from poor Welsh kicking choices, it’s an space of the sport which the ladies in red have struggled with for quite a few seasons.
The likes of England, France and Italy all boast gamers who can kick with size, tactically and kick off the entrance foot, whereas Wales have struggled to kick for significant territory, have lacked the get-out-of-jail possibility when below the cosh defensively and missed out on worthwhile factors by way of unsuccessful conversions.
Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham admits this space of the sport wants loads of consideration earlier than the World Cup kicks off in October, and is hopeful of a brand new teaching addition this summer season.
“We’ve nonetheless acquired to give attention to kicking, giving ourselves a chance to kick additional, in order that’s going to be skillset work with gamers in addition to tactical work to place us in higher positions to kick on our turns going onto ball,” he mentioned. “We’ve been numerous additions, probably, to the group that may assist us and that’ll be one addition that we’ll be . It’s a huge space of the sport that we’ve acquired to repair.”
Neil Jenkins and Leigh Halfpenny had been mooted by media in attendance of a press name as to good candidates who might help, to which Cunningham mentioned: “We’ve been it intimately. There are discussions. Discussions occurred throughout the Six Nations concerning the availability of coaches and different individuals that may are available in and assist us. We’ll proceed to try this and hopefully progress will occur over the summer season.”
In opposition to England, Wales had been camped in their very own 22 for a interval throughout the first half and struggled to exit, whereas in opposition to Italy they had been kicking to the nook with penalties however only reaching 15-20 metres. “If we will repair these issues, instantly we change into a more durable group to beat and clearly we win video games,” Cunningham mentioned.
“There may be a lot kicking within the recreation now, not only simply to kick lengthy, however contestable kicks, as a result of defences are getting higher. If you cannot play via a group you’ve got to play over them or round them and that is when the kicking recreation is available in. It’s one thing that we now have acquired handle earlier than the World Cup.”
Gloucester-Hartpury outside-half Lleucu George, who’s one among Wales’ part-time dozen, made her long-awaited first look of the Six Nations as a second-half alternative in opposition to Italy. Followers had been calling for her inclusion in a matchday 23 as a result of her robust kicking recreation – whereas her distribution expertise have additionally been praised by Wales assault coach Richard Whiffin – however Cunningham selected to reward early performances from Elinor Snowsill and Robyn Wilkins, who’ve been vying for the beginning fly-half jersey for a while. Scrum-half Keira Bevan has additionally been a nominated kicker this marketing campaign, too.
“She’s undoubtedly going to be a part of our plans shifting ahead,” Cunningham mentioned of 22-year-old George. “She’s a part of our group, we’re working intently along with her every day, getting her higher. At first of the marketing campaign, we went with rewarding the gamers who did effectively, who beat Eire and Scotland. Then we went into that England recreation with an identical form of group, in order that’s why she wasn’t concerned early on, actually.”
Different pre-World Cup priorities embody specializing in assault element, lineout and ending off opponents when given the chance, whereas different additions to the set-up – a efficiency psychologist, for instance – are being explored.
“We’ve undoubtedly improved from the autumn. It’s nice that we’ve developed as a group, grown some depth in some positions as effectively. I’m certain as soon as feelings settle, we might be happy to complete third however upset to only win two. We’ve now acquired to critically take a look at ourselves, mirror, evaluate and ensure we take the learnings from key areas of the sport that we’ve acquired to develop earlier than we go to a World Cup.”