The Stats Don't Lie

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: How did the All Blacks win the World Cup final?

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Conrad Smith was key in the backline, making 12 tackles.
Photo / Dean Purcell.
Conrad Smith was key in the backline, making 12 tackles. Photo / Dean Purcell.

Richie McCaw was again Captain Fantastic, being in the first three to the breakdown 45 times, and he was the top All Black tackler with 15 tackles and two assists, missing just two. He also made six ball carries for a gain of 15m.

Tony Woodcock was in the first three to the breakdown 34 times and scored the All Blacks' only try from a lineout move in the 14th minute.

French captain Thierry Dusautoir deserved his man of the match award, making 16 tackles and missing only one, 16 ball carries for a gain of 65m and scoring a try. He also won two tackle turnovers.

Top ball carriers for NZ were Owen Franks (eight for 21m), Kieran Read (seven for 30m) and McCaw (six for 15m). For France they were Dusautoir (12 for 65m), Lionel Nallet (eight for 40m) and William Servat (seven for 16m).

Defence was the key, with linebreaks few and far between. The All Blacks made only two linebreaks (Israel Dagg and Stephen Donald) while France made three.

Francois Trinh-Duc made two of those French breaks, with his second leading to Dusautoir's try.

NZ made 121 tackles, missing 13, while France made 129 and missed 16.

Conrad Smith was a key man in the All Blacks' backline, making 12 tackles, and he also hit eight breakdowns to help secure All Black ball.

The All Blacks conceded only seven penalties, with four at the breakdown, two at the scrum and one for collapsing a maul. France conceded 10 penalties, with seven at the breakdown, two at the scrum and one for offside play.

The All Blacks had just 13 turnovers. Of those only four were handling errors. They conceded three tackle turnovers.

France turned the ball over 18 times, including seven handling errors and seven breakdown turnovers.

Lineouts totalled 33. NZ won 14 of their 16 throws, France won 15 of 17.

Top jumper for the All Blacks was Kieran Read who won all seven of his throws. Sam Whitelock won his two throws and stole a throw off France.

There were 13 scrums, with seven feeds to NZ and six to France.

THE GOOD
Discipline on defence was again a hallmark of the NZ game. They did not concede a penalty between the 71st and 75th minute, defending 15 phases.

NZ pulled off a set-piece lineout move to perfection, with Keven Mealamu's pinpoint throw finding the mark in Jerome Kaino in the back pod, passing to Tony Woodcock for the try.

NZ won the battle of the breakdown, winning three ruck, two tackle and two maul turnovers off France.

Stephen Donald's 32m goal in the 44th minute was to be NZ's only scoring chance in the second 40 minutes.

THE BAD
Piri Weepu went from hero to zero, missing all three attempts at goal in the first half and also making the kick pass intercepted by France that eventually led to their try. He followed that up by kicking the restart out on the full.

The All Blacks lost their first lineout throw with a somewhat optimistic long throw to Brad Thorn at the tail of a five-man lineout. They also lost a repeat of this throw in the second half.

Losing a third first five-eighths to injury, when Aaron Cruden left the field.

FOR THE RECORD

This was the sixth Rugby World Cup meeting between the two sides, a record for RWC match-ups. Both sides were playing in a record-equalling third RWC final, joining England and Australia. France are the only side of those four not to win a title.

NZ are the only side to have finished first in their pool at every RWC, while France were the first team to reach the RWC final after two defeats in pool play.

France now hold the record for the most losses in RWC finals (three).

New Zealand now match Australia and South Africa with two RWC titles.

For more stats go to haka.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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