James Mortimer 16.Apr.2013Getty Images
Add in categories like linebreaks and offloads, and there is further evidence that as usual, Kiwi sides are flying the banner for running rugby, but this season there is one or two malaise that is making the above numbers seem redundant.
Handling errors and knocking the ball on is an area that is also being ruled by New Zealand teams, which is preventing the truest measure of attacking rugby more often than not – scoring tries.
If one was to look at the wrap up after the Highlanders v Brumbies match, one would think that the men from Otago had comprehensively won, but they ruled (not for the first time this season) that coach killer for the round, with the Highlanders making a mammoth 14 knock-ons.
To put this into perspective, the Chiefs made 12 against the Reds, and the sole New Zealand derby between the Blues and Hurricanes saw the ball knocked on precisely 30 times, a condition that needs to be addressed if Kiwi outfits are to top off their clear attacking intention by scoring five-pointers.
While it is concerning reading for coaches, the bulk of the work is being done as we can see below.
Tries – Chiefs and Blues leading with 23 scored
Clean breaks – Chiefs, Blues and Highlanders top three
Carries – Highlanders and Crusaders top two
Metres – Highlanders, Blues, Crusaders, Chiefs and Hurricanes are 1,2,3,4 and 6
Defenders beaten – Five NZ teams in top eight
Offloads – Highlanders, Chiefs and Blues top three
Handling errors - Five NZ teams in bottom seven