RLWC SEMI-FINAL: Big game stats

Of all the quality head-to-head clashes in the Kiwis RLWC semi-final against England at Wembley Stadium none was more eagerly anticipated than the one between Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Burgess. SBW v Slammin Sam didnt disappoint. Photo: Photosport


Burgess produced one of the great individual displays, his inspirational effort all but delivering England victory and a place in the final until gifted Vodafone Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson stole the prize from them.


Even so Burgess was outstanding. While having a man of the match chosen from a losing side doesnt add up the England front rower was surely an exception to the rule.


Having said that, Williams was also superb for the Kiwis; necessarily operating in a much tighter role due to the nature of the contest, he was whole-hearted throughout the entire 80 minutes and more so in the vital late stages when his contribution was immense. His last touch of the game alone proved to be the game turner as he was collared high by George Burgess, winning the penalty from which Issac Luke, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Luke again and then Nuuausala crucially would provide the key touches leading up to Johnsons match-winning trick.


Breaking the numbers down Burgess also on the field for the full 80 had 21 touches, carried the ball 19 times for a game-high 187 metres, had four tackle breaks, three off loads, made one line break, had one line break assist, one try assist and he scored a try. All that and he also made 31 tackles.


Williams couldnt quite live with those stats this time but his contribution was telling for the Kiwis. He had 26 touches, ran the ball 19 times for 150 metres, made one tackle break, provided five off loads and made a team-high 36 tackles.


Ultimately no single statistic was more critical for the Kiwis than Johnsons one late line break but the other big numbers were provided by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Issac Luke, Jesse Bromwich, Simon Mannering and Elijah Taylor.


Tuivasa-Sheck had two tries to give him eight for the tournament and he made 161 metres from 20 runs and produced six tackle breaks; Luke was brilliant again with 109 metres from 11 runs (seven of them sniping efforts out of dummy half), three tackle breaks, a line break and 27 tackles; Bromwich gained 138 metres from 16 runs and had two off loads; Mannering was perfect on defence with 33 quality tackles and not one miss; and Taylor made 30 tackles.


Possession stats for the two teams were almost identical, the Kiwis completing 27 from 35 and England 28 from 36; the Kiwis gained 1279 metres in all, England 1129 while the line breaks read 4-3 in Englands favour; England had to make more tackles (321-285), missed fewer (22-27) but had more ineffective tackles (29-18); penalties went the Kiwis way 11-7, they led the off loads count 16-11 but made more errors (12 to Englands 10).