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Home / Latest News / British and Irish Lions tour 2013: Kickers are the ‘best of the best’ says Neil Jenkins

British and Irish Lions tour 2013: Kickers are the ‘best of the best’ says Neil Jenkins

Neil Jenkins has hailed the work of the Lions’ kickers ahead of Saturday’s crunch second Test against the Wallabies.

Leigh Halfpenny has led the way going for goal on tour, but Owen Farrell reminded everyone how deadly he is in the 35-0 win against the Rebels on Tuesday.

And Jenkins, who was only drafted in as a coach with the Lions at late notice, was praised by Warren Gatland for the work he has done in the aftermath of the victory.

But the former Pontypridd and Cardiff fly-half paid tribute to the players themselves.

He said: “We are very lucky to have the kickers we have, they are the best of the best and they just need to keep doing what they’ve been doing.

“Things have been going well, touch wood, but we need to keep it going for Saturday.

“Kicking is a huge part of the game and Leigh has been outstanding for us and Wales in the last two years. He has an outstanding work ethic.

“But I’ve really enjoyed working with Owen (Farrell) and Jonny (Sexton) as well. It’s been great to work with other people.

“Jonny’s work ethic is ridiculous. Leigh probably doesn’t stay out there as long as Jonny but he works extremely hard and makes sure he kicks from every position in every session.”

Jenkins was asked about Kurtley Beale’s slip while taking the last gasp penalty that ultimately failed to pinch the spoils for the Wallabies in Brisbane.

And like Gatland has already done, Jenkins emphasised the importance of long studs, even though Beale has since said he felt it was nothing to do with his choice of footwear.

Jenkins added: “We knew the pitch from playing there last year with Wales and against the Reds a couple of weeks prior.

“The pitch was a bit soft under foot and we’d had rain the day before as well.

“I’d always encourage our boys to wear as long studs as possible, but that’s not always easy with the type of boots that are out today.

“I encourage them to clean their boots as often as possible as well.

“It was one of those things for Kurtley. It can even occur with long studs.

“They lost Leali’ifano early on who is a great kicker for the Brumbies and I thought Berrick Barnes may take over because he has kicked well against us in the past.”

Jenkins expanded on how he is cajoling the kickers to such impressive returns.

“I try and stay in the background, but if I see something I’ll say something,” he explained.

“If things are going well though, I will let them keep going. I won’t speak for the sake of it.

“These boys work incredibly hard and have done for the last six and a half weeks.

“I try to watch every keep and keep encouraging them if there are one or two misses.

“But the boys never dwell on it.”

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