Science News

The Secret of Jonny's Golden Kick

Sun, 23rd Nov 2003

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After yesterday’s fabulous performance of England in the Rugby World Cup final, I can’t resist finding some science in there somewhere. And indeed there is. Researchers from University College Worcester have developed a mathematical formula for Jonny Wilkinson’s world cup winning kick. They’ve studied hours of TV footage of his successful conversions and penalties and to gain insight into the world’s best rugby kick. Apparently the key to Jonny’s success is his methodical approach- he always approaches the ball from the same angle with the same speed, and even uses the same leg power and foot position. The only other factors that need to be considered are the match conditions, including Jonny’s psychological state, which might be influenced by cheers from the crowd, the match score and the time of the match. And like yesterday with the drizzling rain, the environmental conditions are also important- you might have noticed Jonny yesterday dropping bits of grass to try and work out the direction and speed of the wind. But as long as those other factors are not all against him, then his consistent skill will see the ball through those posts… as indeed it did, just enough yesterday!


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