Jimmy Gopperth now has his own kicking tee

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Taranaki-born Gopperth, 38, told The Rugby Paper, the kicking tee now known as the 'Jimmy G Tee' was originally the 'Simpkin Tee'. Its designer was former Waikato and Fiji Sevens coach George Simpkin, who introduced it into rugby.

 

"I had a Facebook message from George last year. He said he had followed my career, loved how I used his tee and that my success had been his," Gopperth said.

 

"He told me he was terminally ill with only a few months left to live and that he wanted to give me the rights to reproduce the tee under my name.

 

"I had used it since I left school in 2001. George stopped making them in 2010 because a truck travelling with the moulds crashed, and having made them for years, he did not see any point in making more.

 

"I had been hanging on to my tees for dear life from then," he said.

 

Gopperth said he had some great conversations with Simpkin and hoped to develop the tees before he died. However, he hadn't been able to do that as Simpkin died within two months of making contact.

 

"As Covid eased up, I got things rolling and now have a good stock of tees for myself and everyone else who uses them," he said.

 

 

Many of rugby's best goal-kickers have used the tee.

 

"It holds the ball well in windy conditions and has two levels. It is made of perma-plastic so it's a little bit softer. It has got a nice feel to it off the foot. I have not done too badly from it."

 

Gopperth, who has also played for Newcastle and Leinster, has kicked 3315 points in his career. He made his first-class debut back in 2003 for Wellington in the national provincial championship.

 

"I was blown away by George. He invented a lot in rugby and was a legend. To have a guy of his achievements watching my career was humbling and to be able to reproduce his tee under my name is pretty special.

 

"Getting it back out there in his memory was a big driver for me," he said.

 

Gopperth said he didn't know the secret to why he had been able to play so long.

 

"Perhaps it was growing up as a coastal lad and drinking milk from the cows every day.

 

"I would not be here if I did not still enjoy it, and it is important to have a good balance so you are not thinking about rugby when you are away from the club," he said.

 

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