Given this was the All Blacks’ first loss in 22 matches I thought it was worth giving a few extra notes additional to the usual stats tables, so read on.
When it came to making tackles in this test match, the All Blacks made a total of 137 plus 18 assists. Splitting it into halves, they made 77 in the first half and 35 of those first half tackles had to be made in their own 22. So how many tackles did they miss in that first half? Twelve, which is significant because there were only two missed tackles in the second half. Of those first half missed tackles, five were missed in their own 22.
The number of penalties conceded by each team contrasted in each half – in the first forty minutes the All Blacks conceded 4 and the Springboks 7, while in the second half it switched with the All Blacks conceding 7 and the Springboks 5.
Despite spending large chunks of this test on defence, the All Blacks only conceded two penalties inside their own 22 (Ben Smith going off his feet as he came through a ruck, and a deliberate knock-down of a pass by Jerome Kaino). The All Blacks conceded all their remaining penalties in the game on the Springboks’ side of halfway.
The Springboks conceded two penalties in their own 22, five between their 22 and halfway, and the remaining five in the All Blacks’ half. They conceded two penalties while on attack in the All Blacks’ 22.
The Springboks marginally won the breakdown battle, cleanly winning three ruck and three tackle turnovers while awarded four penalties for All Blacks not releasing the ball in the tackle. The All Blacks cleanly won two ruck and three tackle turnovers, and were awarded three penalties for Springboks not releasing the ball.
The All Blacks’ set piece may have been under pressure at times but they never turned over possession from set peice, unlike the Springboks who lost three lineout throws to the All Blacks (two steals by Sam Whitelock and one by Steven Luatua).
There was a lot less kicking than in most of the 2014 internationals this year, with a combined total of 33 kicks from hand. The Springboks only made five kicks in the first half, two of which were clearing kicks from within their own 22, so this is indicative of the open style of rugby they brought to this test. The All Blacks made a total of 18 kicks from hand, split evenly with 9 per half. In the first half they made 4 clearing kicks from their 22 and in the second half that increased to 6.
And yes, New Zealand’s most capped All Black once again was their hardest working player topping the breakdown arrivals and tackle stats. McCaw was also instrumental in three of the breakdown turnovers the All Blacks won.