Heading down to the freezing wasteland of Nigel to play a compulsory friendly match against a club side is hardly the way most Durban lads would choose to spend their 24th birthday. For Rory Kockott, though, the tables will be somewhat turned as he aims to give both his teammates and fans a present of his own – a return to his best form.
I find it pretty hard to believe that the nuggety and abrasive Rocket isn’t older. Like so many of the “Baby Sharks” that came through under Dick Muir, he seems to have been on the scene for bloody ages. Like so many, though, he too has suffered from some patchy form of late and his ongoing tussle with Ruan Pienaar over the umber 9 jersey, together with some frankly astonishing criticism of his play from coach Plumtree, has had a negative impact on his game.
The dawning of his 24th year, though, should represent a brilliant opportunity for Kockott – a proven matchwinner in the past – to reinvent himself and become the player that we all know he can be. We saw glimpses of his old self towards the end of the Super 14, particularly in the brilliant win over the Stormers, but now that the shadow of Pienaar looks set to leave the scene for good, Kockott really needs to step up and show that he can be everything that the team needs him to be: a quick, accurate distributor, an astute tactical kicker as well as reliable goal-kicker, a devastating tackler and above all, a maker of sound decisions all-round. Perhaps more importantly, though, Kockott needs to show that he’s ready to take on the mantle of senior player in the team and his personal standards of conduct, discipline and leadership will need to be kept consistently high.
One gets the feeling that this Currie Cup season is going to be a make or break one for Rory Kockott. Let’s hope that he can start with a bang tonight by delivering the sort of match-winning performance we’ve seen from him in the past. Happy birthday, Rocket man. Time to turn it on for the team.Tweet