Shingler gets kick out of being London Irish goalkickerBy Alan Manicom
October 04, 2012
Steve Shingler has no intention of handing back the goal-kicking duties to London Irish team-mate Tom Homer without a fight.
Shingler has had the job since the second game of the season when he slotted over all but one of seven attempts in Exiles’ 40-31 home defeat by Gloucester and his success rate is currently 18 out of 25 kicks at goal.
He took over from Homer after the winner of last season’s Aviva Premiership Golden Boot missed all but the last of four penalties in Irish’s 40-3 defeat by Saracens at Twickenham.
Shingler said: “Tom had a bad knee at the start of the year so I took the kicks when I was on the pitch in pre-season.
“My form was pretty good. I’ve always been on Tom’s tail and last year I was practising, waiting for him to give me a shot.
"He had an off day against Saracens but his knee was bad.
“I did a lot of kicking when I was at Llanelli and Scarlets. That is a thing I have prided myself on.
"It is probably the strongest part of my game and something I wanted to carry on and not neglect so I continued to practise it.
“I find kicking quite therapeutic on my own. I was doing it day in, day out, even though I wasn’t goalkicking for the first team.
"I’ve been biting at the bit so it is great to get a shot.”
Shingler’s team-mates joke that he is a one-man British Lion. “Mum is Scottish, my father is English, I was born in Wales and I play for Irish,” he laughed.
Last spring he was selected to join Scotland’s Six Nations squad, but Wales successfully appealed that he was only eligible to play internationally for them as he had represented his country of birth at Under-21 level.
Shingler recalled: “Wales were going well and had an established squad and I felt no-one would break in for four, five or six years.
“Scotland offered me a chance to play international rugby within the month.
“Most of my family are Scottish. My mother was ecstatic and I am close to my grandparents, so once they heard about it, they were over the moon.
"I spent a lot of time up in Scotland as a child. It was not really a case of playing for Argentina or somewhere with no connection.
“Having said that, all the time I was playing rugby in Wales I had dreamed of playing in the Millennium Stadium.
“And when it started to drag on my desire to play for Scotland began to get less and less.
"I had the chance to go to court over it, but deep down it (playing for Scotland) was not what I wanted to do.
“If I play well hopefully the opportunity to play international rugby may come around again.”
Eleventh-placed Irish entertain league leaders Northampton on Saturday and Shingler said: “We want to prove to the supporters that we are still a good side.
"Any team can beat any team in the Premiership and London Irish could easily go on a 10-game winning streak with the players we have got.
"It is just about getting things right.
"Our tactics maybe have not been all there at times.
"We were 10 points down (in last Friday's 35-11 defeat) at Worcester and ended up leaking tries when we could have kicked for field position rather than chasing the game.
"Maybe if we had got three points on the board at that time we would have got back in the game.
"It is just going the wrong way, but it could easily click the other way.
"We are putting ourselves in a good position to win games, but are just not pushing forward.
"That is what we have to look at."