Planet Rugby

The Year in Numbers - 2013

27th December 2013 19:02


ben smith highlanders juan martin hernandez argentina

Stellar year: Ben Smith

Taking a numerical look back on the year that was, we've picked out some interesting figures from across the globe in 2013.

121 - The number of nations that played international rugby this year. By comparison there were 107 in 2012.

14 - The All Blacks' perfect record this year will not be matched for some time. No team in the professional era has ever gone a whole year winning every single one of their matches until now.

3 - In one of the tighter Six Nations for some time, four teams finished with three losses and within one league point of each other at the bottom behind Wales and England. France finished 6th, due a points difference nine worse than Ireland.

4 - Wales' giant winger Alex Cuthbert, not George North, finished with more tries than anyone else in the Six Nations. Four players - Wesley Fofana, Louis Picamoles, Stuart Hogg and Tim Visser - finished behind him with two each.

75 - One category that the All Blacks didn't control. New Zealand's total of 51 tries was incredibly impressive, and crucially against Tier One nations, but Japan finished with the most five-pointers in 2013 - albeit against much weaker opposition. Winger Kenki Fukuoka lead the way individually for the Brave Blossoms with seven of the 75.

27-38 - The scoreline from that epic clash at Ellis Park. Nine tries, 65 points and a match between the Springboks and the All Blacks with silverware on the line that was acted out at an exhausting pace. One of the greatest games of recent times.

41-16 - Series glory for the British and Irish Lions was sealed by that scoreline at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. Australia had clawed back at the Lions 19-3 lead, but when the nerves set in the Lions roared and scored three tries to clinch a first series win since 1997.

The 41-point figure was the most scored by the Lions ever in a Test match. The winning margin of +25 was the Lions' second highest ever, only beaten by when the Lions defeated Australia 31-0 in Brisbane in 1966.

11 - The most tries scored by an individual in Test rugby last year, by New Zealand's Ben Smith. Smith broke the record for tries scored in a Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations with eight across the tournament. He also scored six in Super Rugby, underlining his fantastic year.

173 - Wales and British and Irish Lions star Leigh Halfpenny scored more points than any other player in international rugby this year, beating out Romania's Florin Valicu and Japan's Ayumu Goromaru. Halfpenny scored one try and kicked 44 penalties and 18 conversions.

54 - The number of tries scored by champions the Chiefs in Super Rugby this year. Dave Rennie's team romped to back-to-back titles with a series of impressive displays, not sacrificing their open attacking game in order to secure silverware. They also shared the tries around, with Bundee Aki and Tim Nanai-Williams top scoring with six each.

161 - Those Chiefs again. No one made more clean breaks than the Waikato side, with the Waratahs' next closest with 147.

8237 - One category that didn't go the Chiefs' way was metres made, as the Crusaders pipped their national rivals to the accolade. Interestingly, four of the top five sides in this category came from New Zealand - highlighting their supremacy when it comes to running rugby. By contrast the Kings only made 4821 metres.

400 - They might have finished right down near the bottom of the log, but the Highlanders sure knew how to entertain. No team beat more defenders as Ben Smith's side set the thrill factor to ten. The Kings by contrast struggled in 2013 and finished with 222.

88.7% - When it came to defence though, no team was better at making their tackles than the Kings. Their tackling percentage was in fact better than the Chiefs, despite both teams being at polar opposites on the log.

10 - On his return from tearing up the Sevens circuit, Frank Halai settled in handsomely at the Blues by running in ten tries as part of a deadly back three including Charles Piutau and George Moala - the most in Super Rugby this year. Watch out for him in 2013.

248 - A shoulder-aching number of tackles from the Cheetahs' Pieter Labuschagne, the most in the tournament. Beating out Matt Todd by seven, the South African's work-rate deserves applause.

54 - Quade Cooper's year started slowly but ended on a high. His work in Super Rugby though didn't go unnoticed as Cooper made more offloads than any other player. The next best effort was from Israel Folau, who made 36, underlining Cooper's productivity.

1427 - A second moment of recognition for Ben Smith, who made more metres in Super Rugby than any other player. If Smith didn't find his way into your XV of the year then we're not sure what you were thinking.

60 - His mate Halai might have scored the most tries, but Charles Piutau beat the most defenders in Super Rugby and wrapped up his year with a debut for the All Blacks.

13 - New Zealand's perfect year 2013 has been well documented, but 12 other teams also finished with an 100% record - Cambodia, the Cook Islands, Cyprus, Ecuador, Lebanon, Moldova, Namibia, Qatar, Rwanda, Singapore, Turkey and USA South. Safe to say if any of those teams had actually faced the All Blacks, those records wouldn't have lasted.

217 - The worst points difference for the year from the UAE, who in their four matches conceded an average of 54.25 points.

3 - Three teams failed to score a single point in all of their international matches this year - Benin, Brunei and Burundi.

438 - The most points conceded in Test rugby this year, by Argentina. 2013 was a horrible 12 months for the Pumas, who lost their coach and were miles off the pace at times in The Rugby Championship.

2 - Spain drew more matches than any other team this year - part of a dismal record that included only one win from eight matches.

3 - Two teams tied for the most drop goals scored in 2013. Good work if you correctly guessed Bosnia and Herzegovina along with Madagascar!

by Ben Coles

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