How will Gareth fare under the scrutiny and then guidance of Fin Smith? Photo: David Rose for The Telegraph
Or so I thought, until Smith taught me the correct execution of the three most important kicking skills and subsequent kicking competitions.
While his fellow the team gasps, all eyes are on Fin Smith. Between practices, Saints offensive coach Sam Vesty throws him the ball. Tired, having reached the goal, he and his teammates will be spared an extra round of sprinting. Miss him and they'll be running again.
The ball goes through the middle and, more importantly, Smith remains popular at the club.
Although the number of abandoned goals is gradually disappearing. When it comes to fashion, particularly in the Premier League, Northampton's high-pressure training session could be indicative of a revival.
“It's very difficult to recreate any form of pressure you feel on match day, but in reality “If your teammates have to go and run because you understand it or don’t understand it, that adds a little pressure,” Vesti says after the workout ends.
“That's what we're trying to do – we're creating that mindset so that when it comes to the big game, you can go and still execute the skill.
“I think some teams will be looking to go further. I think when the ball slows down, I think teams will probably try to hit threes – and I think that's probably the George Ford effect.”
George Ford with a huge goal to put @EnglandRugby ahead!
Oh how England love the drop of a goal at the World Cup!#RWC2023 pic.twitter.com/rlYbx01Bi6— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) September 9, 2023
“So we're definitely training a little bit more this season.”
Smith has worked hard all summer, despite the Saints' reputation as a try-first attacking team.
“This something we’ll definitely look at,” says Smith. “Obviously, George Ford's attention brought some attention to it.
“But I think as the defense gets better, teams will now suddenly be paying more and more attention to it,'< /p>
“The defense is getting better and it will be a lot more difficult, especially in zone 22 where there will be 14 defenders on the front line.
“It will be a really good option for teams. use.
“The attack will probably go nowhere, so you just need to get into that pocket and score some points.”
So, what makes a perfect target? Smith says he wants to do three things:
Smith's slight leg swing puts my quick shins to shame – and after he corrects my technique, he still goes away with glory in the dunk competition after I manage 0 out of 3.
Poor ball drop from Gareth… Photo: David Rose for The Telegraph … and improved version Photo: David Rose for The Telegraph
A difficult skill to master indeed. More humiliation to come.
The Spiral Bomb has long been a weapon in rugby league and is now influencing unions, most notably thanks to the exploits of Ford and Owen Farrell.
It is a sweeping kick that spins in the air and accelerates as it falls back to the ground, leaving full-backs swinging in an unpredictable trajectory compared to traditional up-and-down kicks or Garryowen.
“This is a very difficult task that needs to be caught,” says Smith.
Spiral Strike… oh, we missed you! 😍 pic.twitter.com/b9XO9pTXRU
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 4, 2020
“Once you start spinning, the ball will start spinning right at you and then start swinging – so if you're under it in the fullback position, catching it is a real nightmare.
“You can't attack his. It's not positive, and you don't rise up to accept it, so you act hesitantly and get hit.”
But, as Westie explains, there is a time and place for the spiral bomb.
p>“You don't really want to hit high balls in and around the halfway line because if you miss, you're going to get hit. pump.
“So more often than not, you want your high balls to hit their half, and that's why you'll see that's where most high balls will land.”
“I think we , we’ll probably see more,” Vesti adds. “I think what's important is that the people who do it do it really well. So George Ford can do this and apply this skill, that's why it works.
“I think if you're going to go out and do it, you need to have good consistency in what you do. otherwise it will be a bit of a gift to the opponent.”
Smith has been perfecting his spiral bomb throughout the pre-season, and the key to success for him is the “clock system”:
< ul>< li>Body – 1, ball – 11, kick – 12.
Gareth thought the art of the spiral strike was achieved through straight lines… Photo: David Rose for The Telegraph … but the best way to approach to this is to put your body on 1, the ball on 11 and your foot on 12. Photo: David Rose for The Telegraph
I dabbled with spiral bombs when I was playing rugby league, a long time ago. And he mistakenly believed that it was all about straight lines.
So, using the “clock system” as a guide, I lined up at 12, kicked at 12 and the ball was almost at 9, but after Smith tweaked my setup they started coming out well.
< p>But now it's time for me to deal with some of his stuff. How difficult can it really be?
Photo: David Rose for The Telegraph Photo: David Rose for The Telegraph
Kicks on goal
While drop goals and spiral bombs go in and out of fashion, goal kicks remain a constant and vital cog in any team's arsenal.
This is something that Smith excels at and that he does a lot practicing.Fin Smith awards a goal kick. Photo: Getty Images/David Rogers
I've been kicking racks to learn more I'm over 25 years old and I think my technique is pretty reliable.
But just one trick from Smith opened up my body and allowed me to use my leg and hips more when hitting the ball.
Closed Gareth's technique Photo: David Rose for The Telegraph Gareth's improved, more open technique with high shoulders. Photo: David Rose for The Telegraph
Unfortunately for him, he corrected my technique too well.
Our last fight was the start. Three kicks from 35-40m left, center and right.
Most kicks win.
On the left he lands the first kick to the right and mine flies straight. in the middle. Shot from the front, the pressure gets to me and I take a straight shot to the right and Smith is on target again.
All the way to the final shot.
Smith fades beautifully inside the far post. Davis comes over and levels him. We shake hands after the draw and that brings the curtains down on an exciting day at Northampton Saints.