Tracey Nelson 's Opinion

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Cane leads the way

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Sam Cane took up the mantle of replacing Richie McCaw by being in the first three players to the breakdown 22 times. Photo / Greg Bowker
Sam Cane took up the mantle of replacing Richie McCaw by being in the first three players to the breakdown 22 times. Photo / Greg Bowker

Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers from the first test between the All Blacks and France where Sam Cane led the way in a number of key statistics.

ALL BLACKS v FRANCE (23-13)

Sam Cane took up the mantle of replacing Richie McCaw by being in the first three players to the breakdown 22 times, the best arrival rate of any All Black forward. Wyatt Crockett was the next best with 19, followed by Luke Romano with 18. Dane Coles had the lowest arrival rate being in the first three just seven times.

The All Blacks only made four clean line breaks but managed to score tries from two of them. Ben Smith made two linebreaks, his second resulting in Aaron Smith's try. France also made just four clean breaks, the first of which resulted in their only try of the game. Their right wing Adrien Plate was their top line breaker with two.

The All Blacks had to make 107 tackles in this match, 59 in the first half and 48 in the second.

Only five first half tackles had to be made in their own 22, while in the second half 10 had to be made.

Kieran Read was the top tackler with 11 tackles, four assists and no misses, followed by Cane with 10 tackles, five assists and two misses. Coles and Romano were the next best with nine tackles, while best of the backs was Ma'a Nonu with eight tackles.

The All Blacks missed a total of 15 tackles in this game. Aaron Cruden missed the most with three, followed by Nonu and Cane with two each. It was Nonu's missed tackle on centre Florian Fritz that led to France's only try of the game.

France had to make 91 tackles and missed 15. Their top tackler was captain Thierry Dusautoir with 10, while five first Camile Lopez and Florian Fritz both missed three tackles.

Turnovers were high for the All Blacks with a total of 24. Handling errors were the biggest contributor with 7 knock-ons, 4 wayward or spilled passes, and 3 forward passes. Breakdown turnovers were also high, with 3 ruck turnovers, 4 instances of the tackled player being stripped of the ball, and 3 penalties conceded for the tackled player not releasing the ball.

Luke Romano both conceded the most turnovers being stripped of the ball in the tackle twice, and conceding a penalty for not releasing the ball when tackled.

France had their own handling issues, making 10 knock-ons - the most memorable being No 8 Louis Picamoles losing the ball from the final pass near the goal line for what would otherwise have been a try.

Both teams contested opposition lineouts to reasonable effect, the All Blacks stole 3 of the 12 French lineouts (Romano, Cane and Retallick) and pressured them into one not-straight throw. France stole 2 of the All Blacks' 10 lineouts, with an additional not-straight throw from Dane Coles.

The All Blacks conceded nine penalties, four at the breakdown, two scrum, one lineout, and two for off-side play from charged down kicks. Only one of their penalties was conceded in their own 22 (Brodie Retallick for not releasing the tackled player). Kieran Read was the most penalised player with two, for not releasing the ball as a tackled player and for obstruction in the lineout.

France conceded 10 penalties, most notably for scrum offences with a total of five. Their remaining five penalties came from the breakdown (three), and off-side from knock-ons (two). Only two of their 10 penalties were conceded in their own 22.

Not the best night with the boot for Cruden, landing just two of his five penalty attempts. His two conversions gave him a 57 percent success rate.

Tracey Nelson

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

Tracey Nelson is a rugby statistician who looks closely at the numbers of every Super 15 and All Blacks test to give a concise answer to which players and teams are leading the way on the field.

Read more by Tracey Nelson

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