Rory Kockott was key to another Castres victory over Toulon as the champions won 22-15 at the Stade Pierre-Antoine. Kockott kicked seventeen points, including this huge dropgoal after a penalty kick hit the post. He is eligible for France next year.
The former Sharks and Lions number nine was key to Castres winning the Top 14 last season, and while he at one stage considered moving on to other larger clubs, including the likes of Toulouse, he is now firmly committed to the cause and aiming for another title shot.
He out-booted Jonny Wilkinson at the weekend with four penalties, a drop goal and a conversion.
If all goes well, 27-year-old Kockott, who was top points scorer in the Top 14 last season, could achieve higher honours in the not too distant future. Earlier this year he spoke of his desire to play Test rugby, preferably for his native South Africa but would be equally pleased to play for France.
“I definitely want to play Test rugby one day, whether it’s for South Africa or my adopted nation. I haven’t closed the door on my Springbok aspirations, even though I’m based in France,” he told SA Rugby Magazine earlier this year.
Making his Super Rugby debut agead 19, Kockott spent five seasons with the Sharks in Durban, often as understudy to Springbok Ruan Pienaar, but temperament and attitude seemed to hold him back. He spent a season at the Lions before opting for a change of scenery.
Now at Castres and proving to be one of the best players in league, Kockott has fully embraced life in France, but still has ambitions to fulfill the potential he believes he has.
“I’m a strong believer that if I’m playing the best rugby of my career, I’ll catch the attention of the selectors back home. But if that doesn’t work out, I hope to do well enough to get into the French team. I’m still very young and I’d like to have an international career.
“Here (in France) or in my country. I have three or four years left to achieve that.”
Behind Fourie Du Preez, Ruan Pienaar, Jano Vermaak, Piet Van Zyl and Francois Hougaard, he might struggle to get a look in, so Les Bleus might beckon.
“I don’t see anything wrong with it (playing for France). If you’re not getting any opportunities in your home nation, you should get the chance to play for another country if you’re good enough.
“There’s a lot of competition for the French No 9 jersey, but if I keep working hard, I can get there.”
The video below shows his initial missed attempt at a long range penalty, and then the booming dropgoal that followed after receiving the ball back from a Delon Armitage clearance kick.