Rugby World Cup
New Zealand top attack stats at Rugby World Cup
AAP
November 2, 2015
Are New Zealand the best team ever?

The theory that Rugby World Cups are won on muscle, defence and penalties has been shot down by the 2015 champion All Blacks.

Tournament statistics clearly place New Zealand at the top of the list in nearly every team and player category related to attack.

When he unveiled his squad two months ago, coach Steve Hansen stressed the All Blacks would need to play with an "x-factor" to win the tournament. Even in pool play, when his team stuttered at times, they produced more attacking panache than their leading rivals.

© Dan Mullan/Getty Images

It erupted in the knockout phase, scoring nine tries in the record quarter-final thumping of France before becoming the first team to register three tries in a final, with Saturday's 34-17 defeat of Australia widely regarded as the best spectacle of the eight World Cup deciders.

Not surprisingly they scored more points (290) and tries (39) than any team yet their penalty kick tally (11) was the ninth best.

Wingers Julian Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder topped the tryscoring list with eight and six respectively but their attacking methods go deeper.

The diminutive Milner-Skudder illustrated the importance of skill over size, leading the clean break (14) and metres run (552) categories, with several of his team-mates not far behind.

Four South African forwards topped the tournament tackle count, suggesting the playing methods of the two great southern hemisphere rivals has drifted further apart than ever.


KEY RUGBY WORLD CUP TOURNAMENT STATISTICS

TEAM POINTS
290 - New Zealand, 250 - Argentina, 241 - South Africa, 222 - Australia.
TEAM TRIES
39 - New Zealand, 28 - Australia, 27 - Argentina, 26 - South Africa.
TRY SCORERS
8 - Julian Savea (New Zealand), 6 - Nehe Milner-Skudder (New Zealand), 5 - Bryan Habana (South Africa), Gareth Davies (Wales), JP Pietersen (South Africa), Juan Imhoff (Argentina).
PENALTIES KICKED
23 - Handre Pollard (South Africa), 20 - Nicholas Sanchez (Argentina), 16 - Greig Laidlaw (Scotland),
Bernard Foley (Australia), 15 - Dan Biggar (Wales).
CONVERSIONS KICKED
23 - Dan Carter (New Zealand), 13 - Greig Laidlaw (Scotland), Nicholas Sanchez (Argentina), 12 - Bernard Foley (Australia).
CLEAN BREAKS
14 - Nehe Milner-Skudder (New Zealand), 13 - Santiago Cordero (Argentina), 12 - Ben Smith (New Zealand).
METRES RUN
552 - Nehe Milner-Skudder (New Zealand), 521 - Ben Smith (New Zealand), 514 - Santiago Cordero (Argentina), 433 - Julian Savea (New Zealand).
TACKLES
77 - Francois Louw (South Africa), Lood de Jager (South Africa), 75 - Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), Schalk Burger (South Africa)

© AAP

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