The Stats Don't Lie

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: 24 passes led to final try

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In the lead-up to the final All Blacks' try was handled 33 times, including 24 passes, along with the setting and winning of 11 rucks. Photo / Getty Images
In the lead-up to the final All Blacks' try was handled 33 times, including 24 passes, along with the setting and winning of 11 rucks. Photo / Getty Images

Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers from the All Blacks' last second win over Ireland including a breakdown on the impressive lead-up to the final try where all but two All Blacks handled the ball.

IRELAND 22 ALL BLACKS 24

The All Blacks became the first team in the professional era to go through a calendar year with a 100 percent winning record with their last gasp victory over Ireland, and kept their record of never having lost to Ireland intact.

The final passage of play by the All Blacks was their longest sequence in the match (1 minute and 51 seconds) which they started 12 metres inside their own half. The ball was handled 33 times, including 24 passes, along with the setting and winning of 11 rucks. All but two of the All Blacks (Richie McCaw and Brodie Retallick) handled the ball during that passage of play.

The All Blacks had precious little possession during the first half of this match, clocking up just seven minutes and five seconds with the ball. They managed to double that in the second half with 14 minutes and 46 seconds in possession. Their third longest period of possession in the match was 82 seconds of play which led to Ben Franks' try.

The All Blacks had to make 131 tackles and 27 assists in this match. 81 of those tackles were made in the first half of the game, with 36 having to be made inside their 22. In total the All Blacks missed 14 tackles, 10 of which came in the first half and seven of those were inside their 22. In the second half the All Blacks did not have to make a single tackle behind their own 22 metre line.

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Sam Whitelock was the top All Black tackler this week, with 16 tackles, four assists and no misses. McCaw made 16 tackles, one assist and missed one tackle, while Kieran Read was third best with 12 tackles and one miss. Best of the backs was Ma'a Nonu with eight tackles and four assists, although again he missed the most tackles of any All Black with three misses this week.

Retallick was the top ball carrier for the All Blacks' pack with 14 carries, followed by Whitelock and McCaw who both made nine carries.

The same three players were also the most frequent in the first three to the breakdown, with McCaw making 35 arrivals, Whitelock 34, and Retallick 32.

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The Franks brothers impressed off the bench with Owen clearing out at 16 breakdowns and Ben at 13 in their 23 and 19 minutes respectively on the field. Owen Franks also handled the ball twice in the lead up to Ryan Crotty's winning try.

The All Blacks conceded just eight penalties this week and only three of those came in the first half when Ireland were hot on attack. They only conceded one scrum penalty, but conceded two for collapsing mauls. Ireland conceded a meagre six penalties, with their first not coming until the 34th minute of the game.

There were very few handling errors in this test match, with seven made by each side and Ireland not making their first until the 20th minute. Knock-ons cost the All Blacks in the first half with Israel Dagg's error leading to Ireland's third try, while Charlie Faumuina's fumble came five metres out from Ireland's line.

Dagg was responsible for four of the All Blacks' 16 turnovers of possession, making two knock-ons and being caught in the tackle twice which also resulted in one penalty. Nonu was the next worst making one knock-on, one pass to the opposition and conceding a penalty in the tackle situation after slipping over.

Jonathan Sexton's first conversion of the game took him past 300 points for Ireland. Had he landed his only penalty attempt in the second half, not only would he probably have won the test for Ireland but he would also have become the third highest points scorer for Ireland.

This was the only test match in 2013 that the All Blacks were never in the lead at some stage during regular time.

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