Tracey Nelson 's Opinion

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: What can't Richie McCaw do?

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All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw was the top tackler and made the most ball carries for his side. Photo / Getty Images
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw was the top tackler and made the most ball carries for his side. Photo / Getty Images

As per usual it was Captain Fantastic leading the stats for the All Blacks. Richie McCaw was tops for arrivals in the first three players to the breakdown with a total of 28, plus he was the top tackler for the All Blacks with a total of 12, two assists and no misses.

McCaw was also the top ball carrier for the All Black pack with a total of eight carries for 41 metres gained. Liam Messam came in second with seven carries for 22 metres, followed by Kieran Read with five carries for 30 metres.

Flip van der Merwe was the top tackler for the Springboks with a total of 13 tackles and three misses, along with six ball carries for a total of 18 metres gained. He was also their top lineout jumper with five takes.

Sam Whitelock took heed of needing to up his workrate, and came in second equal behind McCaw with Tony Woodcock for arrivals at the breakdown, with a total of 27. He was also third equal on the tackle list for the All Blacks with eight tackles, one assist and no misses. He shone when it came to the lineouts, winning both his throws and stealing three off the Springboks' throw, plus he won two breakdown turnovers.

The Springboks lost five of their lineout throws, three to Sam Whitelock, one to Luke Romano, and one not straight. The All Blacks' two lost lineouts came from a not-straight throw by Andrew Hore, and a mis-timed short throw by Keven Mealamu that flew well over the head of Aaron Smith at a five-metre defensive lineout.

The All Blacks only missed nine tackles in this match, and just three of those were by the forwards (Owen Franks, Liam Messam and Kieran Read). Aaron Cruden and Conrad Smith both missed two tackles each, while Piri Weepu and Aaron Smith missed one each.

The Springboks' defence was equally sound and they missed just 10 tackles, with van der Merwe missing three, while Morne Steyn, Francois Steyn and Zane Kirchner all missed two each, and Willam Alberts one.

The All Blacks conceded 11 penalties in this game, with six coming at the tackle. Woodcock was the most penalised All Black conceding three, while Conrad Smith conceded two. McCaw did not get penalised at all in this test match.

The Springboks conceded 14 penalties, including a yellow card to Dean Greyling for an elbow to McCaw's face. Greyling conceded a total of three penalties in this game, his other two indiscretions being hands in the ruck.

Cruden's first penalty goal of the game saw the All Blacks break the 1000 point mark in Rugby Championship games against the Springboks. Cruden ended up with four from seven successful attempts at goal, although one of his misses hit the upright.

The Springboks used three goal kickers in this test and managed to land two from eight attempts at goal, with Morne Steyn only landing one of his four penalty attempts. Steyn went into this game with just a 63 percent success rate in test matches this season.

Bryan Habana's try was his 10th in the Rugby Championship, and he becomes the first non-New Zealand player to enter double figures for number of tries scored in the competition. The leading try scorer in the Rugby Championship is still Christian Cullen, with a total of 16 tries.

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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