Saturday, 19 September 2015

Toe caps...



When Scrobs was an enthusiastic rugby player, one of his jobs was doing the kicking.

Back in the dirty old nineteen sixties and seventies, rugby balls were best described my that marvellous commentator and writer, Michael Green, where he mentioned a rugby ball used in Coarse Rugby would be nearly round, underinflated and soggy in the extreme!

Scrobs was expected to kick goals and conversions with this bit of kit, and sometimes they did in fact scrape over the crossbar... But back then, there was a king among kickers, and he was Bob Hiller, of Harlequins and England.

Hiller kicked properly, by using the toecap of  his boot, and sighting up directly in line with the centre of the posts, and belting the ball through on numerous occasions. He was also a good drop-goal kicker too, but that was another action.

So this method became de-rigeur for Scrobs, and some success was achieved, even with the dreadful ball Michael Green described. But then there was a sort of earth-movement, and kickers started to kick with their insteps, and even worse, round the corner!

Disgraceful behaviour! Some players even placed the ball on a mound of dirt, in a torpedo fashion, and kicked the end!

I've never understood how accuracy could be maintained by this method, and even watching the best kicker ever, Johnny Wilkinson, I could never see how he could line up with the sort of accuracy that one can maintain when one kicks in line with the posts!

Now the glorious World Cup is upon us, I hope to see at least one player kicking properly, using the best piece of footwear he can buy - with a proper, solid toe-cap!


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

As I was reading that I was thinking that my comment would be something to the effect that in the picture your old boots (no pun intended!!!) were proper strong leather boots that protected a player's ankles and toes - unlike today's spiked bedroom slippers that most of them seem to wear - the reason I believe for all the metatarsal injuries now which were unheard of in our day.

PS Great result for the Japs. Quelle surprise! Nasty nips in the air again?

rvi said...

oops, sorry Scrobs, forgot to add my signature to the above comment.

Lilith said...

I'm off to see the All Black's v Georgia and very excited about it too. To my shame I've never seen them live. Which is even more shocking when you think my cousin is in charge of NZ Rugby!

Michael said...

They're even worse than playing in flip-flops, Reevers!

I bought the best pair I could afford, and the first time I wore them the opposing prop put a stud right through the toecap! I didn't feel a thing, but spent several seasons with a great wad of insulation tape wrapped round the front of the boot, and it worked a treat!

That final Japanese try was absolutely fabulous!

Michael said...

Lucky you, Lils!

Make sure you get into Le Monde in St Mary Street, before the game! And then try and get back in afterwards... (Mind the stairs too...)!

I saw the All Blacks live in the 1960s, when Wilson Whineray was around! Fabulous times!

rvi said...

Another 2 pennyworth if I may...

Talking of seeing the All Blacks live, a few years ago Mrs rvi and I were on holiday in Brisbane. One evening as we descended from our hotel room in the fairly small lift, it stopped half way down and no fewer than 7 very smartly dressed giants piled in. My other half is only 5'1" tall and came up roughly to their belt buckle level. They were all well over 6' tall. As they got out of the lift (and we were able to start breathing again!) they turned left and immediately boarded the coach waiting for them outside the door. I asked the driver who they were and he replied "the All Black juniors".

I am sure by now that they have all progressed to the first team, but I am pleased that I never had to play against them!! Being marmalised was never on my bucket list of things to do etc...

Michael said...

Nice yarn, Reevers! I've just remembered that we used to have an ex-Junior All Black playing at my old club! Apart from being a superb player, he was one of the nicest chaps you'd ever wish to meet!

Michael said...

In half an hour, the old enemy will be singing 'My hen laid a haddock', and away we'll go...

May the best team (England) win!