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All Blacks 'winging' it over rivals

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    16 Oct 2017     Getty Images

That's the opinion of respected English rugby writer Peter Jackson who said of all the assembly lines in the world none compared with New Zealand's mass production of Test wings.

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In his Rugby Paper column, Jackson said: "Only an All Black like Julian Savea can reel off a strike rate second to none and find himself replaced in his prime by a succession of younger challengers, from Nehe Milner-Skudder to Waisake Naholo.

"When it comes to try-scoring wings, New Zealand's squadron of flyers do it better than anyone else's. While they have averaged almost two tries per match over the last two years, only one of their challengers on this side of the Equator [England] has come close to averaging half that number."

Jackson said by the time the All Blacks completed their northern tour next month he expected the margin would have widened.

"Results over 34 Tests played by the World Cup holders and their ancient European rivals show that New Zealand wings touch down almost three times more often than their Welsh and Irish counterparts and virtually four times more often than France.

"Savea, for example, has scored more tries over that period, 16, than all the French wings put together," he said.

Yet even 46 tries in 54 Tests scored by Savea didn't offer immunity from being replaced by younger rivals.

Figures showed New Zealand's wings had scored 59 tries in the last 34 Tests. In the same time frame northern hemisphere countries had scored: England 33, Scotland 24, Ireland 22, Wales 22, France 15.

The make-up of New Zealand tries were: Julian Savea 16, Nehe Milner-Skudder 11, Israel Dagg 10, Rieko Ioane 8, Waisake Naholo 7, Ben Smith 5, George Moala 1, Charles Piutau 1.