Friday, July 27, 2012

Hugo Porta dropgoals vs New Zealand 1979

Some people like to say that Argentine players are good kickers beacuse of the profile of soccer in the country. Whether it is true or not it is undeniable that one of the greatest ever kickers in rugby history is Hugo Porta. He contributed in a massive way to Argentine rugby and was the country´ first player to be inducted in to the IRB Hall of Fame. His international career span nineteen years and saw him defeat teams including Australia, France, South Africa and draw against New Zealand. Porta´ goalkicking abilities made his such a crucial player as any time Argentina were inside an opponents half Porta could be trusted to inflict pain on the opposition with a kick. Teams had to be on the constant alert as he was also very talented with dropkicks.

The art of drop kicking has in recent times been criticized for being negative play with Jonny Wilkinson often being the target. Some have called for a change in the points scoring system to make drop goals worth less than three points. Justifications for the desire to make changes go so far as to say that it is not fair and is also an ugly way to win a match. Porta was able to land dropgoals from virtually anywhere. From just a short glance he would be able to sight his target. Such was the example of his two drop goals against New Zealand in Dunedin in 1979. It was actually the first time New Zealand had ever hosted Argentina. The All Blacks won the match 18-9 with Porta kicking two amazing dropgoals. The first was off his left boot and was a quick reaction after Argentina had stolen an All Black lineout. The second was also a quick reaction, this time from his right boot after he only had a very quick glance at the posts. 

Porta landed kicks from halfway and did what Jonny Wilkinson made himself famous for - dropkicking goals off both feet and doing so with little time or space. When Wilkinson became the world record holder for dropgoals  in test rugby he broke Porta´ then world record of 28. Truely a rugby legend, Porta paved the way for the future of Los Pumas as his career inspired many future stars. Without Porta would there have been a Hernández or a Wilkinson?

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