THE distinctive squat may have been dropped from his kicking stance but Rob Cook is determined to rediscover the form of old with the boot as Gloucester Rugby seek a return to winning ways, writes Paddy von Behr.
Cook’s idiosyncratic approach, which saw his arms outstretched in front of him, palms together and knees bent low, had helped him contribute 48 points from the kicking tee last season.
Yet this term has been a different story with Cook contributing just two points with his boot in the opening 13 games of the Aviva Premiership campaign as Gloucester switched kickers in search of the winning formula.
Cook was back under the microscope on Saturday, kicking a penalty as the Cherry & Whites were agonisingly beaten 11-8, though he was shorn of his old approach to the tee.
The decision may have split the critics but for the 29-year-old his stance is an irrelevance – especially compared to the important matter of lifting Gloucester up the table.
“Yeah, I’ve made a change but it doesn’t make that much difference,” said Cook.
“I probably don’t get as much abuse as I used to get but in terms of kicking I’m still approaching the ball in the same way.
“I don’t think it has really changed anything with the way I strike the ball. I’ve been working hard with Tim Taylor and I’ve got a more traditional stance now.
“There’s pressure on the kicker but only when you’re not kicking well, if you’re kicking well then it’s not something you notice at all.
“We’ve had a few games where we’ve lost it on kicks we’ve missed so it plays a big part in the game.
“I just want to get back to kicking consistently well, that’s part of why I was brought to the club and I want to repay them.”
While Cook proved Gloucester’s answer with the boot, the former Cornish Pirates full back knows they must also curb their discipline problems if they are to push for the top six.
The Cherry & Whites had two players sin-binned in the defeat to Sale Sharks the week before the defeat to Leicester and Cook admits errors must be eradicated for the visit of Harlequins.
“It has been frustrating because they are not the same things we are being punished for, there have been lots of different penalties that we shouldn’t be conceding,” he added.
“It has hurt us and we have spoken about it a lot and we know we can’t afford to do it.
“Last time against Harlequins it was another game that we were in until we had players sin-binned and then it just got away from us so we know we can’t afford to do that.”
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