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Rugby World Cup 2019: Stat attack – All Blacks vs Springboks

New Zealand’s All Blacks and our beloved Springboks have met four times at the Rugby World Cup each winning twice.

There has been little to separate the two most successful teams in the history of the tournament in both the Rugby World Cup and recent matches. The last three meetings between the two rugby superpowers have produced a win each and a draw and remarkably 82 points apiece.

Their meeting on Saturday will be the first time the two sides meet in a Rugby World Cup group stage match with all previous meetings coming in knockout games.

Rugby World Cup win ratios

New Zealand have won 45 out of 51 matches at the tournament for a win percentage of 88% – the best at Rugby World Cups. In terms of win percentage, they are closely followed by the Springboks, who did not play in the 1987 and 1991 tournaments. The Boks have won 30 out of 36 Test matches in Rugby World Cup tournaments since their first admission in 1995 giving them a winning percentage of 83%.

Experienced campaigners

In terms of World Cups the Springboks Tendai Mtawarira and Frans Steyn are the most experienced players in the 23 with 11 RWC caps each.

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New Zealand’s Sonny Bill Williams. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images RealTime Images

With 14 appearances to each of their names, the All Blacks Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Whitelock are the most experienced players in terms of the RWC in their group. Both are some distance behind the all-time record holder Richie McCaw whose mark of 22 RWC caps is safe for now.

Old dogs in the pack

The Springboks have a high concentration of experienced players among their forward pack. The forwards in the starting XV account for 352 of the Springboks 542 overall Test caps.

The average caps per player in the backline is 27, the forwards 44 while the players on the bench average 47. The average age of the Springboks starting fifteen is 27.

The All Blacks boast a vastly experienced squad. In Whitelock and skipper Kieran Read they have two men with more than 100 Test caps to their name.

Try, try again

The All Blacks have been the most prolific try-scorers in Rugby World Cup history. The individual record is held jointly by All Black and Springbok wingers. Bryan Habana shares the all-time mark of 15 tries at the Rugby World Cup with the late great Jonah Lomu.

Those records are under threat from veteran Aussie winger Adam Ashley-Cooper. Ashley-Cooper is not the Wallabies first choice out wide, but he is likely to get enough game-time against minnows to score the four tries he needs to equal the record. 

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Frans Steyn of the Springboks and Andre Esterhuizen of the Springboks after the win during the The Rugby Championship match between South Africa and Australia at Emirates Airline Park on July 20, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

In the current squads, Sonny Bill Williams (5) and Frans Steyn (4) have the most five-pointers to their names. 

The Springboks have remarkably scored just one try against the All Blacks in Rugby World Cup history while the Kiwis have dotted down five times against the Boks scoring 79 points in the four meetings against 64 from the Green and Gold.

Milestones

Duane Vermeulen will play in his 50th Test match on Saturday while Eben Etzebeth will play in his 80th.

Scrumhalf TJ Perenara will make his 60th All Black appearance if selected.

Handré Pollard needs seven points to reach 100 points in RWC tournaments and 12 points in this Test match to reach 100 points against New Zealand. Pollard is also on the brink of breaking Percy Montgomery’s career record of 16 conversions against New Zealand. Pollard is on 15 at the moment.

The man with the Rugby World Cup whistle

The referee will be Jérôme Garcès of France. This will be his 53rd Test match as a referee. South Africa was involved in thirteen of those Test matches, nine times on the losing side of which five were in matches against New Zealand.

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