ACT Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen has revealed a novel way to get his kicker Christian Leali’ifano to increase his goal-kicking accuracy in the knockout stages – make him buy a beer every time he misses a kick.
The Brumbies comfortably beat the Western Force at the weekend to qualify for the knockout stages of Super Rugby, but Mowen wants his kicker to increase his accuracy, after seeing his success percentage drop from 78% last season to just 49% this campaign.
After Leali’ifano missed his first kick at the weekend, Mowen informed him he owed the skipper a beer for every further kick missed.
“He owes me about three schooners,” Mowen said post-match, but it seems the odds have increased since. “We’ve just doubled it,” Leali’ifano said. “We said double or nothing if [Mowen] kicked one from 40 metres and he just kicked it out there in training. So I now owe him six.”
Leali’ifano underwent ankle surgery before the season began, but has rejected claims that this is why his accuracy has seen such a marked decrease this season.
“It’s something I’ve got to work hard at – mentally trying to relax,” he said. “But, when the boys are running over scoring tries, you do relax a little. I feel as though I’m hitting them well, just need a little bit of luck.”
All joking aside, Mowen and his team are 100% behind their man going into the knockout games. “You just keep handing him the ball because you trust him,” he said. “He’s won so many games off the back of his boot. His best kicking is just about to come. If he missed every kick all year and starts getting them now that’s perfect.”
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images