PHILADELPHIA, PA – Perhaps lost amid the other business of the final full Saturday afternoon in the Aviva Premiership, the winner of the Golden Boot was decided. The winner is the player who has scored the most points in the season from the tee. While few would argue – or few should argue – that the award is actually an indicator of who the best kicker was over the course of the season, it is the award that is given. For that reason, let’s take a look.
Heading into the final round, there were two contenders: Stephen Myler and Andy Goode. Goode had an 8 point lead through 20 rounds. But Myler did not play, with Northampton safe at the top of the table, so Goode’s lead wasn’t even challenged.
That means that with 235 points for the season, Andy Goode will head to London Irish next season as the reigning Golden Boot Champion. No doubt, that is a lot of points and something to be recognized. What this total really shows is that Andy Goode has been healthy this season, he played for a side that scored more tries (77) than any other side, he was the regular first-choice kicker, and he did not miss games because of international duty. Stephen Myler scored a lot of points under similar circumstances.
Here are the top 5 points scorers and the number of attempts (conversion and penalty) for each.
Steenson shared the kicking responsibilities with Henry Slade; Ford missed Bath games when with England; Laidlaw was not the first-choice kicker at the start of the season and missed Gloucester games when with Scotland. That is how Goode ends up at the top. Whatever kicker scores the most points in a long season must have factors beyond simply his skill working in his favor.
The Golden Boot is awarded to the “leading goal kicker in the competition.” That’s true, if one leads by getting the most chances. In the next few days, we will have a closer look at the kicks from the season and will rank individual kickers and teams in a more meaningful way, accounting for not only percentage but also difficulty.
More interesting than who had the most chances? Who was the best kicker of the competition. When that is finalized – after some number crunching – in the next few days, it is already clear it won’t be Andy Goode.
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