Rugby-Former footballer kicks winning shootout kick
LONDON May 3 (Reuters) - Leicester number eight Jordan Crane, a former semi-professional footballer, kicked the winning goal in the Heineken Cup's first penalty shootout on Sunday.
Crane stepped up to the 22-metre line to slot over the goal which took his team through to the final against Leinster after a pulsating match against Cardiff Blues ended 26-26 following extra time.
The 13th kick of the competition came directly after British and Irish Lions flanker Martyn Williams had missed for Cardiff.
Crane told Sky Sports he had regularly practised place kicking with team mate Julien Dupuy after training.
"So I have a little knock over every now and again but apart from that its a bit of a leisure thing after training," he said.
Leicester forward Tom Croft said it had been a brutal way to decide a match.
"You start to see what footballers go through after their penalty shootouts," he said. "He (Crane) talks himself up in training most of the time when it comes to his kicking. He's always out practising even though he's told not to, so it's paid off."
Head coach Richard Cockerill added: "He's a confident young man and he's played semi-pro football as a young man, to be fair that sort of stage is made for him.
"They've got to have a look at that penalty kick law, it's pretty unusual for it to get that far.
"It's probably a poor way to finish the game. To go out like that is probably a bit unfair."
Forwards, mainly because kicking is not usually one of their primary skills, seldom win reputations as goal kickers.
A notable exception was South Africa prop Okey Geffen who kicked a then record five penalties in a test against the New Zealand All Blacks in 1949. In the 1960s, lock Frik du Preez, later named as South Africa's player of the 20th century, also place-kicked goals for his country.
More recently, Australia captain and lock John Eales was an accomplished goal kicker and New Zealand number eight Zinzan Brooke let fly with a remarkable drop kick in the 1995 World Cup semi-final against England.
A year later Brooke kicked the drop goal which clinched new Zealand's first series win in South Africa.
(Writing by John Mehaffey; Editing by Ed Osmond; to query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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