Barrett not the All Blacks Goal Kicker

The All Blacks vs Namibia was not a great night for the boot. There were only 6 kicks out of 10 that went between the posts. The All Blacks kicked 5/9 conversions, but only 4 of the 8 conversions that Barrett attempted were successful, along with one penalty kick. Beauden’s personal goal kicking success rate in this game was only 55.5%.

1443128715255Barrett also was quick to line up his kicks, looking like he was rushing the process. This is on the back of a year of disappointing kicking in Super Rugby with a success rate of just 64%. He missed three crucial penalty kicks in the first half of the Super Rugby final; 9 points that could have won the Hurricanes the game. It would have been nice to have seen Colin Slade given a go in the second half at the goal kicks against Namibia.

However, South African statistical analysis website  goalkickers.co.za offers an even more troubling picture for Barrett’s performance.  The website not only takes into account the success rate of each goalkicker in the Rugby World Cup so far, but also the difficulty of each kick depending on position on the field based on angle, distance, altitude, side of field, the foot being used, and the score at the time (to suggest the level of mental pressure on the kicker).  Each kick taken in the tournament can be assigned a success probability and compared to the average success from that position among other players at the tournament.

The average rating at the World Cup after two weeks of play is 4.75 out of 10.  Dan Carter scores 5.620, making all of his kicks in the Argentina game.  Beauden Barrett scores only 2.960 from his performance against Namibia.  The average kick difficulty for Barrett during the game was calculated to be 5.16.  This is below the standard of what would be expected of an AVERAGE professional goal kicker in his situation.  While few goal kickers in the tournament could nail all 4 kicks that he missed, it left 8 points on the field that would be crucial in tighter, higher pressure game.  Based on the performance of the average kicker so far, Barrett should have been able to at least make one more of 4 kicks he missed.

Barrett made all three of his easy kicks from within 12 metres of the posts but when the angle got tougher he was found wanting.

He nailed his first conversion from out wide, a 41m kick at a 34 degree angle to the posts with an average success in professional rugby of 50.76 per cent, and his second, but then the radar started to malfunction.

First there was a 39m kick with a 58.69 per cent success rate, then one with a 47.95 per cent success rate, then a 57.7 per centre, and one with a 50.76 per cent rate. – Ben Strang, Stuff.co.nz

Hopefully Hansen finally learns from this that Beauden is simply not getting his radar back and is too much of a liability. 8 points left uncollected from tries did not matter against Namibia, but if Dan Carter is not available in the knockout stages, we are in serious SERIOUS trouble if we are expected to rely on Barrett’s boot. This could be a coach killer.

Barrett is a great tactical commander on the field and is excellent at running the ball, especially as an impact player from the bench.  There is no disputing that.  But entrusting him with the additional duty of goal kicking in the knock out stages is tournament suicide for New Zealand.

Exiting the 2015 World Cup due to an inability to accept the stats on the part of the coaches will make for an extremely frustrating “four more years.”  If the England vs Wales game needed to remind anybody of anything, it is that kicking is the most important aspect of scoring points in a world cup.