Rugby World Cup: The Pool Stage in Numbers

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RWU HQ – As the Pool stage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup fades into history, here’s a countdown of key numbers from the tournament so far, from when England kicked off the tournament against Fiji, way back on September 18, to the final whistle of the match between Japan and USA that was the final act of the pool stage of England 2015.

You could call it a final countdown, but that would be so very, very wrong…


The number of points scored in the pool stage of the Rugby World Cup. It sounds a lot, but it’s actually the lowest pool-stage aggregate since the pool phase was extended to 40 matches back in 2003.

A moment of magic for Namibia's Johan Deysel, whose score against New Zealand is one of the 231 tries in the pool stage
A moment of magic for Namibia’s Johan Deysel, whose score against New Zealand is one of the 231 tries in the pool stage


That’s how many tries have been scored so far in the tournament – again, it’s the lowest total since 2003, when the pool phase was extended to 40 matches.


The number of penalties scored. That’s a new record, beating the 163 set during the pool phase of the World Cup in Australia in 2003.


The big one. That’s how many people have turned out at grounds from Twickenham to St James’ Park, and from stadium:mk to Sandy Park – and all points in between to watch pool matches. Organisers hope that about 2.5million people will have made it to a match by the end of the tournament.


The largest ever attendance for a Rugby World Cup match came at Wembley, when Ireland met Romania.


That’s the number of players at the tournament who were not born in the country that they’re playing for – that’s 22% of the total number of players at this Rugby World Cup, according to figures compiled at the start of the competition by American Rugby News. In fact, Argentina were the only nation to boast an entirely ‘homegrown’ squad.

Here’s the complete list: 13 Samoa 12 Tonga 11 Wales, Scotland and Japan 10 France 6 Australia, Italy, USA 5 Canada, Ireland, New Zealand 4 Romania 3 England, Fiji 2 Namibia 1 Georgia, South Africa, Uruguay 0 Argentina

Bryan Habana scores during South Africa's 64-0 win over USA
Bryan Habana scores during South Africa’s 64-0 win over USA


The flipside to the above. This is how many New Zealand-born players are at this World Cup representing for countries other than their own. Meanwhile, 10 South Africans are playing for other nations, while nine proud Welshmen were, in fact, born in England.


The largest winning margin at this tournament, achieved when South Africa beat USA 64-0. Until this tournament, at least one team had won by 87 or more points in the pool phase at each of the last five World Cups, so this year’s winning margin is a whopping 26% lower than at any time over the past 20 years. Scant consolation if you’re on the receiving end of such a drubbing, but worth mentioning.


The number of caps held by New Zealand’s starting XV for their opening match against Argentina. That’s a world record for any Test.

Greig Laidlaw celebrates a crucial Rugby World Cup try against Samoa
Greig Laidlaw celebrates a crucial Rugby World Cup try against Samoa


How many points Scotland’s inspirational captain Greig Laidlaw scored in the pool stage of the competition, the most of any player in the tournament so far, two points more than Japan’s Ayumu Goromaru.




Sorry Scotland fans, that’s the number of years since your last win at Twickenham, where the Tartan Army will face Australia in the quarter-finals of the competition next week. In fact, Scotland have only won four times in 47 attempts at the home of their auld enemy. On the plus side, they have only ever previously played England at ‘Headquarters’, so maybe a change of opponent will do the trick.


And counting… No player has made more tackles than New Zealand’s King Richie, who is streets ahead of everyone on this all-time list. Even more remarkable is the fact he’s not in the top 20 tacklers of this tournament, which is jointly headed by Japan’s Michael Leitch and Italy’s Francesco Minto (51). Second on the all-time list is France’s Thierry Dusautoir, with 178. Looks like those two will be busy when the two sides meet in the quarter-final at the Millennium Stadium.

The baby-faced Vasil Lobzhanidze.
The baby-faced Vasil Lobzhanidze.


That’s the age of Georgia scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze. He is, in fact, the first player born in rugby’s professional era to compete at a World Cup. He played in all four of his country’s matches and started three of them.


The number of conversions underwear model Dan Carter slotted during the pool stage of England 2015. He now has 145 World Cup points to his name, including a record 47 conversions, and is the leading points scorer still playing. But he remains a long way shy of the 277 World Cup points scored by none other than His Imperial Galactic Majesty Lord Sir Jonny of Wilkinson.


The number of World Cups that Italy’s Mauro Bergamasco has played in. When he came off the bench in Italy’s win over Canada, he equalled the record of Brian Lima, of Samoa.


Small number. Successful rop goals in the pool phase of the tournament.


Smaller number. A single red card has been doled out, to Uruguay’s Agustin Ormaechea.

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About James Harrington 196 Articles
James Harrington... Before injury brought his rugby career to a timely end, journalist James was equally useless whether he packed down in the second row or at number 8, positions in which he represented his school and university with indistinction. The prolific one now lives in France with his journalist wife and three children and watches as much Top 14, European and international action he thinks he can get away with; justifying his obsession by claiming: "But it's all work, Honey!"