The Stats Don't Lie
Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Quarter-final wrap - Missed tackles proved costly

Keith Earls scored Ireland's only try but he also missed five of his eight tackle attempts. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Keith Earls scored Ireland's only try but he also missed five of his eight tackle attempts. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Of the four winners from the quarter finals, only New Zealand finished top of their pool while the other three sides had all lost at least one game in pool play (France lost two).

The four teams to play the semifinals are the same four who contested the 1987 semis, except on that occasion France played Australia while Wales played New Zealand.

The average number of penalties conceded in the pool games was 21.15 per match. This dropped to an average of 14.24 per match in the quarter finals.


Wales outscored Ireland three tries to one as they became the first team to win though to the Rugby World Cup semifinals.

Craig Joubert awarded 14 penalties in this match, with both sides conceding seven each.

Rhys Priestland, who went into this game with an 89 per cent success rate with his goal kicking only managed to land two of his five attempts (40 per cent) but did hit the posts twice, while Leigh Halfpenny landed his one penalty attempt.

Ronan O'Gara landed both his attempts at goal, and the five points he scored made him the fifth player to score a century of points against Wales.

Ireland declined to take two penalty kicks within easy kicking distance early in the game when down 0-7, a decision they were left to rue.

Irish openside flanker Sean O'Brien was the top ball carrier in this match with 23 runs for a gain of 81 metres.

Defence was the key to winning this game with Welsh blindside flanker Danny Lydiate the top tackler with 28, while opensider Sam Warburton made 21. Overall Wales made 215 tackles to Ireland's 138.

That defensive pressure showed in the turnover stats with Ireland making 18 handling errors to the seven made by Wales.

Irish left wing Keith Earls missed five of his eight tackle attempts.

Brian O'Driscoll played against Wales for the 14th time, which equals the Ireland record against the Welsh set by Mike Gibson between 1964 and 1978.


This was the first time that France have beaten England in a World Cup knockout match, with England having prevailed in 1991, 2003 and 2007. It was also the first time France had scored more than 13 points against England since the last World Cup in 2007.

Excluding 3rd and 4th playoffs, England hadn't lost a Rugby World Cup match against another Six Nations team since the quarter-final of Rugby World Cup 1987 (6-13 v Wales).

Steve Walsh awarded 17 penalties in this game, the most of any of the quarter-finals.

England had gone into this game conceding an average of 12 penalties per game, but kept that down to half with just six penalties blown against them.

France, who had conceded an average of 9.25 penalties per game in pool play, conceded 11 penalties in this match.

France made 14 offloads to the 11 made by England, while Manu Tuilagi (Eng) and Vincent Clerc (Fra) made two offloads each.

French openside flanker Julien Bonnaire was the top tackler in this game with 19, while Jonny Wilkinson missed the most tackles (five from his 11 attempts) of any player in the match.

This game was high in handling errors, with 32 made by England and 17 by France.

Dimitri Yachvili kicked two from five attempts at goal for just a 40 percent success rate after going into the game sitting at 81 percent.

Jonny Wilkinson's sole penalty goal made him the player to have scored the most penalties (40) against France. He previously shared the record with Hugo Porta (Argentina).

There were three attempts at drop goals in the game, with Toby Flood and Morgan Parra both missing it was left to Francois Trinh-Doc to land his attempt in the 73rd minute of the game.

England may have left the tournament but they equalled the all-time RWC record set by Australia at the 1999 RWC in just conceding one try during pool phase.

France are only the second team to reach the RWC quarter-finals after two defeats in the pool phase. The first was Fiji in 1987.


In the lowest scoring game of the quarter-finals it was Australia who managed the only try of the game to captain James Horwill.

This game also saw the lowest number of penalties awarded in all the quarter-finals, with Bryce Lawrence awarding just 10 compared to his tournament average of 20.25 during pool play.

South Africa conceded just four penalties, which was three less than their tournament average of 9.25 per match during pool play. Australia conceded six which was four less than their tournament average during pool play.

The first penalty of the game came in the 16th minute and was against South Africa. Australia didn't concede a penalty until the 27th minute of the match.

David Pocock had a huge game making 27 tackles (missing none) and winning three turnovers, but conceded two breakdown penalties in the process.

Quade Cooper missed the most tackles (eight) for Australia, while for South Africa it was Jannie du Plessis (six).

Schalk Burger was the top ball carrier with 16 runs for a huge 100m gained.

South Africa stole four of Australia's lineouts and won the ruck and maul tally two to one, but were twice denied scoring chances due to forward passes.

South Africa made seven linebreaks to the two by Australia, with Jean de Villiers starring with three linebreaks and two offloads.

It took a third penalty by Morne Steyn in the 60th minute of the game for South Africa to take the lead, and he was somewhat off-song with his goal kicking finishing with two from four penalty attempts plus a succesful drop goal.

James O'Connor stepped up for Australia in the 73rd minute to land a penalty goal and win the game, finishing with a final stat of two kicks from three attempts in his game which was slightly below his pool game average of 77 percent.


There were 16 penalties awarded by Nigel Owens in this game, with New Zealand conceding six and Argentina 10 plus the only yellow card of the quarter-finals to halfback Nicolas Vergallo.

New Zealand conceded three breakdown penalties, while Argentina conceded seven breakdown penalties including the yellow card. There was only one scrum penalty in this match, conceded by New Zealand for wheeling.

Argentina's Julio Farias Cabello made the most tackles in this game with 22 (and missing just two),and also scored their only try.

Cory Jane made the most linebreaks with three, while Sonny Bill Williams and Aaron Cruden made the most offloads with two each.

New Zealand made 52 tackles to the 192 Argentina had to make. New Zealand missed just nine tackles in this match, while Argentina missed 50.

There were only 11 handling errors in total during the game, six by New Zealand and five by Argentina.

Piri Weepu kicked seven from eight attempts at goal for a personal tally of 21 points from this game. He has missed just one of his 12 attempts at goal to date, and is yet to miss a penalty goal.

Aaron Cruden landed his one and only conversion attempt at the end of the game, while Felipe Contepomi was successful with one from two attempts and Marcelo Bosch landed his one long-range penalty attempt.

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