Rugby Championship
Ten stats to whet your Rugby Championship appetite
ESPN Staff
July 16, 2015
Rugby Championship Preview: Australia v South Africa

The fourth edition of the Rugby Championship kicks off this weekend with New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina ramping up preparations for the Rugby World Cup.

Each side will play just three matches in this year's condensed format, with the All Blacks hosting the Wallabies and the Pumas taking on the Springboks in extra Tests that fall one week after the tournament's conclusion.

With the help of Opta Sports, we've taken a look at some of the numbers that offer a few clues as to how the Test season may play out.

Key Rugby Championship Stats

  • The winner of the Tri-Nations/Rugby Championship has never gone on to lift the Rugby World Cup in the same year.

  • Julian Savea led the way for tries in last year's edition with four. In 15 appearances in the tournament he has scored nine tries, eight of which have come in six Tests against Argentina (including at least one in each).
    Julian Savea has made a habit of scoring tries against Argentina © Getty Images

  • Australia ranked last for scrum success rate (75%) and equal last for lineout success rate (81%) in the 2014 Rugby Championship. Indeed, Australia's opponents enjoyed a better scrum success rate (91%) than against anybody else.

  • Victory for New Zealand in this year's tournament would equal the record they set of four consecutive competition victories between 2005 and 2008 (including the Tri-Nations).

  • Richie McCaw has scored 15 tries in this tournament (including Tri-Nations), more than twice as many as any other forward. Bryan Habana holds the record with 18.
    Rugby Championship Preview: New Zealand v Argentina

  • McCaw missed three of 13 tackles against Samoa in last week; he has not missed more in an All Blacks jersey since he fell off five tackles against South Africa in October 2013.

  • In terms of try-scoring, no side started slower than New Zealand last year. The All Blacks scored just one opening quarter try, the same as Argentina. However, every nation had a quarter when they scored just one try. For the Wallabies, it was the second; South Africa, the third.

  • Damian de Allende topped the charts for defenders beaten in Super Rugby 2015 with 76. He evaded eight tackles in the Springboks' recent win over a World XV.
    Springboks centre Damian de Allende enjoyed a fine Super Rugby season with the Stormers © Getty Images

  • Since Argentina joined the competition there has been just one Test where a try hasn't been scored (Australia 12-12 New Zealand; August 2014).

  • South Africa crossed for the first try more often than any other team in the competition last year (4 times). Australia recorded the first five-pointer on three occasions, with each of those coming within the opening 180 seconds of matches.

© Opta Sports for ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.