Home Sport Stormers and WP players aim to kick the Wright way

Stormers and WP players aim to kick the Wright way

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Manie Libbok and Kade Wolhuter, the prime goal-kickers in the squad, and Jean-Luc du Plessis and Damian Willemse to a lesser extent, have been good in front of the poles for both teams.

Manie Libbok (pictured) and Kade Wolhuter, the prime goal-kickers in the squads, and Jean-Luc du Plessis and Damian Willemse to a lesser extent, have been good in front of the poles for both the Stormers and WP.
Manie Libbok (pictured) and Kade Wolhuter, the prime goal-kickers in the squad, and Jean-Luc du Plessis and Damian Willemse to a lesser extent, have been good in front of the poles for both the Stormers and WP. Picture: Shaun Roy BackpagePix

Cape Town – He has been hobbling around with a knee brace on his left leg, but that doesn’t stop Stormers and Western Province kicking coach Gareth Wright from making sure his players hit the target when training and in matches.

Manie Libbok and Kade Wolhuter, the prime goal-kickers in the squad, and Jean-Luc du Plessis and Damian Willemse to a lesser extent, have been good in front of the poles for both teams.

Libbok has had his struggles in the past, but seems to be in a good zone with his goal-kicking at the moment. So too Wolhuter, who has been out injured for more than a season.

Wright believes the effort that his kickers, even the rest of the backline, puts in when they practice with him, is what makes them currently such a good team in terms of finding space and relieving pressure at the same time with their kicks.

“If you don’t put in the time during the week, you can’t expect to get the results and they’ve been putting in the hard work and hours,” Wright said about his thriving kickers.

“I’m very happy with how things are going and it’s pretty easy working with them even if they have different styles of kicking.

“A guy like Kade is a natural kicker of the ball, and so is Manie. You just have to structure the framework and let them thrive within it. We are lucky that our guys have a fantastic work ethic and are committed to high standards.

“They deserve the plaudits coming their way.”

The commitment shown to him by the players is returned by Wright. He has been in a knee brace since late last year but still pitches for every training session, sometimes kicking the ball more than his players.

All that matters to him is to see the team thriving, whether it’s the Stormers or Province side.

“I’m trying to relive my youth,” Wright said laughingly, referring to him training while still injured.

“This is a union and franchise that means a helluva lot to a lot of people. So we do whatever we can do to prepare the team as best for a weekend. That’s the mantra of all the coaches.”

Wolhuter will have another big task on Friday when WP face the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup. He had a solid outing against the Lions at altitude, especially with his kicking, and Wright will be hoping for another master-class from the youngster.

Being at altitude, Wolhuter has already shown that he can aim for posts from 60 metres out and the Bulls should be wary of that.

Wright warned that the Bulls will be hurting after their huge loss to the Pumas, and that the WP players will have to expect a backlash.

“They are always dangerous, no matter where you play. It could be in Cape Town or Loftus. The Pumas played well, but we expect them to be up for the challenge,” Wright said.

“The main focus will be on us to maintain the continuity.”

@Leighton_K

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