Foster still backs Donald

Chiefs coach Ian Foster is still backing his number 10 Stephen Donald despite his below standard kicking so far in the Super 14.

Donald suffered a pre-season foot injury which has prevented him from practicing his kicking as much as he would have liked. Donald’s general play is also not as good as it was in 2007.

His kicking is currently at just under 50 per cent but strangely when it has really mattered Donald has kicked the kicks that counted and twice he has had to land kicks to win matches.

Kicking those kicks that matter is the reason that the Chiefs points to as a reason not to drop Donald.

“He’s not far away,” said Foster on Rugbyheaven.

“He’s getting better and better in some aspects of his game. You’ve got to distinguish goal-kicking from general play.

“In terms of his goal-kicking, he’s not knocking the ball over as much as he would like to perhaps but he’s still a class goal-kicker under pressure.

“But general play is getting better and better and better. We started to make better decisions … we started to take some good attacking options. It’s growing and he’s part of that.”

As an alternative Foster says that he has looked at other goal kicking options within the team, but wanted to stick with Donald.

“I think sometimes you’ve got to back your players who you know have got class and I think Stephen Donald’s a class goal kicker who will bang them over.

“There’s not many kickers around who would knock the ones over he’s knocking over in the last 10 minutes.”

Foster also gave praise for the way the Chiefs came back from what looked to be an almost certain defeat on Saturday and outscored the Cheetahs 22-3 in the second half which won them the match.

“We’ve still got some work to do but I think the flow of the game (in that second half) was better, we’re starting to play with a bit more width, which is good, and I guess our skill level is going up and up, while at the breakdown we were a lot more competitive today.”

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