The Stats Don't Lie

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Where the ABs won 'that' test

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Richie McCaw was the top tackler with 15 tackles, seven assists and three misses. Photo / Getty Images
Richie McCaw was the top tackler with 15 tackles, seven assists and three misses. Photo / Getty Images

Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers from Sunday's dramatic Rugby Championship encounter at Ellis Park. Richie McCaw yet again led the way while the bench played a vital role for the All Blacks.

SPRINGBOKS v ALL BLACKS (27-38)

The All Blacks notched up their 50th test match victory over the Springboks, in what was just their fourth ever test win at Ellis Park.

The All Blacks made 141 tackles and 35 tackle assists in this match, missing just 19. In the first half they had to make 41 tackles, 14 assists and missed six. In the second half they made 100 tackles, 21 assists and missed 13 tackles.

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Of those 141 tackles, 46 had to be made in the All Blacks' own 22. Of the 19 tackles the All Blacks missed, just three were inside their 22.

Richie McCaw was the top tackler with 15 tackles, seven assists and three misses.

Kieran Read was the next best with 13 tackles, six assists and two misses. Ma'a Nonu (11), Conrad Smith (11) and Aaron Smith (10) were also called upon to make plenty of tackles in this game.

The Springboks had to make 85 tackles and missed 31. They missed seven tackles in their own 22, four of which came when Ben Smith scored the opening try of the match.

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Top tacklers for the Springboks were Francois Louw with 10 and Willem Alberts with nine. Willie Le Roux was their worst tackler making just one tackle and missing six, while Morne Steyn made five but also missed five.

No surprise that yet again McCaw was the top player for arrivals to the breakdown, being in the first three players on 34 occasions. He was well backed up by Sam Whitelock (23 arrivals), Tony Woodcock (15) and Brodie Retallick (14).

The All Blacks won the breakdown with four clean steals and a penalty won for the tackled player not releasing. Read, McCaw, Retallick and Sam Cane all won turnovers.

Impact off the bench was key for the All Blacks with Wyatt Crockett having a busy 27 minutes with 12 breakdown arrivals and seven tackles, Steven Luatua stealing two lineouts off the Springboks in his 17 minutes, while Beauden Barrett scored a try, kicked a penalty and two conversions, and made a try-saving tackle when he ankle-tapped Willie Le Roux a metre from the try line.

The All Blacks conceded nine penalties in this game which was less than their average for this Rugby Championship of 11.5, but they also conceded two yellow cards. Of those nine penalties, four were conceded in their own 22. The Springboks conceded just five penalties.

Turnovers cost the Springboks, particularly in the second half of the game. Of their 25 turnovers, 16 came in the second half made up of 10 handling errors, three lineout losses, two breakdown turnovers, being held up in a maul, and penalised for not releasing the ball when tackled.

The All Blacks conceded a total of 15 turnovers, of which nine were handling errors. They only conceded six turnovers in the second half of the match (three handling errors, a scrum penalty, a lineout and an accidental off-side).

Bryan Habana's two tries saw him pass Christian Cullen's record of 16 Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations tries to become the leading try scorer with 17, while Ben Smith set a new record for number of tries in a Rugby Championship season with his opening try of the game, finishing with a tally of eight.

It was the first time since 2010 that the All Blacks have conceded four tries in a Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations test.

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