Kicking not an issue says Deans

Australia head coach Robbie Deans insists goal kicking is not a weakness for the Wallabies. [more]

Kicking not an issue says Deans

Australia head coach Robbie Deans insists goal kicking is not a weakness for the Wallabies.

James O’Connor missed three kicks from three during last weekend’s comprehensive defeat to the All Blacks.

O’Connor’s poor showing with the boot led to Quade Cooper taking over from the tee in Auckland but Deans says the 22-year-old winger will bounce back against South Africa on Saturday.

"Obviously James wouldn't have enjoyed his kicking performance at the weekend, but it's unusual for him," said Deans.

"He's been kicking very well and he'll kick well again.

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"It's generally good conditions for kicking here so, no, we don't see it as an issue going forward."

Copper nailed two from two after taking over from O’Connor at Eden Park – a performance that has seen him cement his position as back-up ahead of Kurtly Beale.

"Off the back of those, Quade would be the back-up kicker," added Deans.

"You leave that very much to the blokes on the day, but we do discuss who is next cab off the rank."

As well as O’Connor and Cooper, Beale is no stranger to big-game pressures.

The new Melbourne Rebels signing landed a monster penalty in the final minute when the Wallabies travelled to South Africa last year.

Beale’s success gave his country their first win on the High Veld for nearly 50 years but the man himself has no designs on becoming the Wallabies’ front-line kicker.

And, in contrast to press criticism earlier this week, Beale believes Australia are in a much healthier position kicking wise than they have been in over the past few years.

"I don't think James’ is worried too much. He knows what he's got to do and I'm sure he'll fix that," said Beale.

"We've got Quadey there as a back-up and that's the best thing – the last couple of years there was only one kicker and that was (Matt) Giteau, so I guess it's a good thing."

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