White's men kick off on wrong foot
Handing over the kicking duties ... Jesse Mogg. Photo: Getty Images
THE Brumbies are confident they can shake the kicking jitters after missed shots cost them valuable points in round one. Jake White later suggested a last-minute coaching session might have affected his sharpshooters.
The Brumbies got their Super Rugby campaign off to a promising start by beating the Queensland Reds by 18 points on Saturday night. And they are hopeful of getting another boost on Monday if an ultrasound clears winger Henry Speight of any serious rib injury.
The team's attention switches to taking on the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday night, and accuracy in front of goal is the area they can improve on most.
Five missed penalties and a wayward conversion attempt could have jeopardised the Brumbies' chances of beating the Reds in the first round.
Coach White called in kicking guru Damien Hill to join the squad on game day and warm the kickers up at Canberra Stadium less than an hour before the season kicked off.
It was the first time Hill had been with the Brumbies on a match day, and White conceded ''it was too much info'' for his kickers.
Christian Lealiifano, Nic White, Jesse Mogg and Ian Prior all had chances to take a shot. Mogg - who scored two tries and nailed two crucial penalties - said the missed kicks against the Reds would not haunt the Brumbies in Melbourne.
Mogg said the kicking duties would be handed back to Lealiifano. ''We've got a pretty confident group of kickers, and [Lealiifano] has kicked well in the trials, so I guess it was just an off night,'' he said. ''We're all confident with the tee, but you don't want to be leaving points out there through missed penalties because they're crucial in a tight game.
'''Hilly' was there just to remind us of our process and, personally, I don't think he had anything to do with the missed goals.''
Speight was the only injury concern for the Brumbies after the 24-6 win over the Reds. He was taken to hospital after the game, but scans cleared him of any damage. He will have more tests on Monday.