Touring the country this month, the Crabbie’s Challenge has brought together players from the Blues, Scarlets, Ospreys and the Dragons to see which of the clubs taking part on the 28th April at Principality Stadium has the ultimate kicking credentials.
Each club is putting forward its best squad of four kickers including one front row, one back row and two backs, each taking part in three kicking contests to see who will take the honour of winning the Judgement Day Crabbie’s Challenge.
With the Dragons ‘kicking off’ the competition at their training ground in Ystrad Mynach, the team selected its squad including Dragons lock forward, Welsh International and captain for the 2017-18 season, Cory Hill; Dragons’ hooker with seven Welsh international caps, Elliot Dee; Dragons’ fly half Arwel Robson who made his debut for the senior side in 2017; and Zane Kirchner fullback at the Dragons with 31 caps for South Africa under his belt.
The Crabbie’s Challenge includes three simple tests of kicking skill. Lucy Cottrell, Brand Manager, Crabbie’s, explains; “The challenge is not only a great chance to
After a quick warm up on the Crabbie’s passing cage, the players went into their first test designed to test their speed. How many penalties can be kicked from the 22 in 10 seconds.
For some of the team, this was the first time they’d kicked from a tee in years, however it was to be Cory and Zane who came out on top in the first round, posting a respectable five penalties each through the posts. Cory said; “Kicking is not part of my game. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had to kick a penalty! It was good to finish the first round on top along with Zane.”
Next up it was one of the toughest challenges with a single tackle bag placed between the posts – this challenge is all about pinpoint accuracy, where each player had five attempts to kick a ball into the tackle bag.
This proved a real test, however South African international, Zane Kirchner, shone with two direct hits out of his five attempts. He added; “It’s a real tough one, however where the others tried to roll it into the bag, I went for a more direct approach which worked well!”
Last, but certainly not least, it was a test of balance. Spinning around the ball ten times, the players then stepped back for one last dizzy shot at goal. With Arwel, Elliott and Zane stepping back and striking the ball sweetly between the uprights, the pressure was on, however dizziness proved too much for Cory.
The day ended with Zane setting a respectable target of 14 points individually, and the Dragons setting the bar of 36 points for the Crabbie’s Challenge for the rest of the rest of the Judgement Day teams to beat.