Stats paint an ugly picture for Boks

London - Stats don't lie. Or so they say...

But looking at the official World Rugby stats after Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final between New Zealand and South Africa, one is tempted to question their validity.

The final score of 20-18 to the defending champion All Blacks suggested the match was tight, but not according to the stats!

New Zealand enjoyed a 67%-33% territory advantage and a 57%-43% possession supremacy. Seldom has an international match been so lopsided.

New Zealand scored the only two tries of the match, and truth be told South African didn't come remotely close to threatening the All Blacks' tryline.

As is so often the case in Tests between the All Blacks and Springboks, the Kiwis were dominant on attack and the Boks headlined the defence categories.

On attack the All Blacks bossed matters in all areas.

In the "Metres made" category they led 387-149. In terms of "Clean breaks" they had 5 to 3 and in "Carries Across Gainline" New Zealand enjoyed a 53-25 advantage.

The Top 5 players in the "Metres made" category were all New Zealanders.

Wing Nehe Milner-Skudder led the way with 94m (and he only played 49 minutes), while Ben Smith (53m), Ma'a Nonu (44m), Jerome Kaino (42m) and Julian Savea (33m) followed.

Look away now if you're a Springbok fan!

On defence, the Boks were forced to make 131 tackles - and missed 20.

By contrast the All Blacks only made 83 and missed a very impressive 3.

New Zealand also won 9 turnovers to the Boks' 6.

Not surprisingly the Top 5 tacklers were all South African.

Lock Eben Etzebeth led the way with 16, followed by his second row partner Lood de Jager with 14. Then came flanks Schalk Burger and Francois Louw on 13 and prop 'Beast' Mtawarira on 11.

The biggest culprit in terms of tackles missed was Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard with 5, while four of his team-mates all missed 2 (Damian de Allende, De Jager, Bismarck du Plessis and Mtawarira).

The Boks also lost 4 lineouts to the All Blacks' zero.

The only category that really mattered that the Boks "won" was the "penalties conceded" where French referee Jerome Garces awarded them 14 and penalised them on 6 occasions.

Sport24 Editor Garrin Lambley is covering the 2015 Rugby World Cup live from London

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