All Blacks: The 2016 Rugby Stat Awards

By Sam Hewat

Israel Dagg's rise back to the top has been overshadowed by the explosion of Beauden Barrett and the All Blacks dominance in 2016. Photo / Photosport
Israel Dagg's rise back to the top has been overshadowed by the explosion of Beauden Barrett and the All Blacks dominance in 2016. Photo / Photosport

According to the numbers, this year was one of the All Blacks best.

13 wins from 14. A total of 80 tries with an average of 5.70 per game.

562 points for and just 221 against for a differential of +341.

On the way, they broke the record for most consecutive wins by a tier one rugby nation and they gave 11 new players the chance to call themselves All Blacks.

But while as a team they have stood out, individuals deserve their time in the spotlight.

Below is the best of the best from the All Blacks 2016 stats.

Tries

WINNER - Israel Dagg (10)

Dagg came back to the All Blacks setup in 2016 with a vengeance. He missed just two games - the first against Wales in June and Ireland in Chicago.

In the 12 games he did play, he was the first try scorer for the All Blacks on six occasions and only had four games in which he didn't score.

Second Place - Beauden Barrett (9)

Third Place - Ben Smith (8)

Try Assists

WINNER - Beauden Barrett (10)

He doesn't just score them, he creates them.

It's no secret, the story this year has been the explosion of Beauden Barrett, and the fact he rounds out most of the offensive stat categories shows how potent he's been.

Second Place - Anton Lienert-Brown (7)

A big mention for the youngster who burst on the All Blacks scene this year. He frequently found himself getting his arms free in impossible situations to setup some pearlers.

Third Place - Ben Smith (6)

Metres Gained

WINNER - Israel Dagg (880m)

This might surprise some.

The fact Ben Smith played more minutes than pretty much any other back in the game would suggest he'd top this category.

However, 252m in one game - the last test against Wales in June - propelled Dagg to the top of the ladder.

Second Place - Ben Smith (871m)

Third Place - Beauden Barrett (805m)

Clean Breaks

WINNER - Israel Dagg (23)

The above comments again stick true. How Dagg was able to out perform those around him despite playing less minutes shows how good of a season he really had.

Second Place - Ben Smith (22)

Third Place - Julian Savea (21)

*Notable Mention - Dane Coles came in a close fourth with 18 clean breaks. Not bad for the hooker.

Defenders Beaten

WINNER - Ben Smith (47)

Finally Smith gets the win!

While only six defenders ahead of Barrett, the gulf between those two and the rest is impalpable.

Second Place - Beauden Barrett (41)

Third Place - Julian Savea (27)

Tackles

WINNER - Kieran Read (141)

Leading from the front. If there's a category you want your captain to lead, it has to be tackles.

Sam Whitelock has often held the "most tackles" label and perhaps would have done so again this year if it weren't for the tests he missed. Still, a tough act to follow from the skipper.

Second Place - Sam Whitelock (128)

Third Place - Dane Coles (118)

Conclusions

Some have said this was Beauden's year - but credit deserves to fall on the ever-loyal Israel Dagg.

Dropped from the side for the 2015 World Cup, the 28-year-old has bounced back to prove so many wrong.

He'd love to play in his preferred position at fullback, but he's done just as well adapting to the demands of being on the wing.

Meanwhile, Dane Coles seemed to dominate more offensive columns than defensive - beating the midfielders stats more often than not.

The young forward might need to figure out where his true calling really is.

- NZ Herald

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