Aussie perk for Wakatipu Premiers


A goal-kicking coach endorsed by Wallabies rugby stars will be helping out the Wakatipu Premiers.

Former Aussie kicking coach and now resident Queenstowner Ben Perkins was introduced to new Wakatipu Premiers coach Lindsay Thomas at the Recreation Ground this week as he was reacquainting himself with Wallabies Matt Giteau, Cameron Shepherd and Drew Mitchell – in the resort training with the Western Force Super 14 squad.

Thomas instantly invited Perkins to help out – ironically, the Wakatipu Rugby Club rejected Perkins’s application to coach the team last season.

Perkins has “offered his services, which is fantastic”, says Thomas.

“In a place like this, if you’ve got resource coaches of his ability you’re a fool to yourself if you do not access them.”

Giteau says he’s known Perkins – who writes a Super 14 column for Mountain Scene – since joining the Wallabies in 2002.

“I thought he was a bit strange at first but he’s a good friend and a very good kicking coach.

“He doesn’t over-complicate things – if I’m struggling, he instils that confidence.”

Shepherd has known Perkins since he toured with the Wallabies at the end of 2004.

He says Perkins changed his ball set-up and improved his kicking no end. “To say he’s eccentric is not getting close, but he’s an amazing goal-kicking coach – he’s one of the old-school guys.”

The Force will play the under­performing Crusaders in Christ­church on Saturday night.