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Tries, carries, tackles and more : PlanetRugby


Records are made to be broken, and we may see that happen time and time again during the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Ahead of the global showpiece, Planet Rugby, with the help of Opta Stats, breaks down the all-time tournament and match stat records ahead of 2023.

Most Rugby World Cup appearances

The record is jointly held by two legends of the game in former All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw and former British and Irish Lions and England prop Jason Leonard, both of whom have 22 tournament appearances.

Just below the pair is Alun Wyn Jones, who announced his retirement before the tournament in France and needed just two appearances to set a new record of 23.

Australia’s George Gregan has more World Cup caps than any other back, notching up 20.

Most appearances

22 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
22 – Jason Leonard (England)
21 – Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
20 – Keven Mealamu (New Zealand)
20 – Schalk Burger (South Africa)
20 – George Gregan (Australia)

Points

Jonny Wilkinson sits top of the all-time points scorer charts after notching up 277 points across the 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 tournaments.

He is followed by Gavin Hastings, Michael Lynagh, Dan Carter and Grant Fox.

Overall points

277 – Jonny Wilkinson (England)
227 – Gavin Hastings (Scotland)
195 – Michael Lynagh (Australia)
191 – Dan Carter (New Zealand)
170 – Grant Fox (New Zealand)

While Wilkinson scored the most points overall, it is All Blacks legend Fox who scored the most in a single tournament.

Most points by tournament

126 – Grant Fox (New Zealand) in 1987
113 – Jonny Wilkinson (England) in 2003
112 – Thierry Lacroix (France) in 1995
105 – Percy Montgomery (South Africa) in 2007
104 – Gavin Hastings (Scotland) in 1995

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Simon Culhane holds the record for the most points scored in a single Rugby World Cup match.

During the 1995 World Cup, New Zealand secured a record 145-17 victory over Japan; during that match, Culhane scored one of the All Blacks’ 21 tries and converted 20 of their scores for a personal tally of 45 points.

Most points scored in a World Cup match

45 – Simon Culhane for New Zealand v Japan in 1995
44 – Gavin Hastings for Scotland v Ivory Coast in 1995
42 – Mat Rogers for Australia v Namibia in 2003
36 – Tony Brown for New Zealand v Italy in 1999
36 – Paul Grayson for England v Tonga in 1999

Most tries

It’s well known that All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu and Springboks great Bryan Habana lead the way for tries scored overall, with the pair both having 15 tries. The rest of the top five is also made up of Southern Hemisphere players.

Most tries in Rugby World Cups

15 – Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)
15 – Bryan Habana (South Africa)
14 – Drew Mitchell (Australia)
13 – Doug Howlett (New Zealand)
12 – Adam Ashley-Cooper (Australia)

The two great wingers also jointly top the charts for the most tries in a single tournament, along with Julian Savea.

Most tries in a single tournament

8 – Jonah Lomu (New Zealand) in 1999
8 – Bryan Habana (South Africa) in 2007
8 – Julian Savea (New Zealand) in 2015
7 – Jonah Lomu (New Zealand) in 1995
7 – Marc Ellis (New Zealand) in 1995
7 – Mils Muliaina (New Zealand) in 2003
7 – Doug Howlett (New Zealand) in 2003
7 – Drew Mitchell (Australia) in 2007
7 – Josh Adams (Wales) in 2019

Meanwhile, All Blacks back Marc Ellis holds the record for the most tries scored in a single match. He crossed the whitewash six times in that record win over Japan in 1995.

Most tries in a World Cup match

6 – Marc Ellis for New Zealand v Japan in 1995
5 – Chris Latham for Australia v Namibia in 2003
5 – Josh Lewsey for England v Uruguay in 2003
4 – 12 other players

Try Assists

Three players jointly hold the record for the most try assists in Rugby World Cup history; they are Australia’s Matt Giteau and Quade Cooper and South Africa’s Fourie du Preez.

Most World Cup try assists

12 – Fourie du Preez (South Africa)
12 – Matt Giteau (Australia)
12 – Quade Cooper (Australia)
10 – Jonny Wilkinson (England)
10 – Carlos Spencer (New Zealand)
10 – George Gregan (Australia)

Spencer meanwhile tops the charts for the most assists in a single tournament, racking up all 10 of his during the 2003 World Cup in Australia, with Cooper not too far behind.

Most try assists in one tournament

10 – Carlos Spencer (New Zealand) in 2003
9 – Quade Cooper (Australia) in 2011
8 – Matt Giteau (Australia) in 2003
7 – Austin Healey (England) in 1999
6 – David Kirk (New Zealand) in 1987
6 – Glen Osborne (New Zealand) in 1995
6 – Mike Hercus (USA) in 2003
6 – Aaron Mauger (New Zealand) in 2007
6 – Fourie du Preez (South Africa) in 2015

Giteau, meanwhile, holds the record for the most in a single match, assisting an astonishing six tries against Namibia during the 2003 pool stages.

Most try assists in one World Cup match

6 – Matt Giteau for Australia v Namibia in 2003
4 – Craig Chalmers for Scotland v Ivory Coast in 1995
4 – Eric Rush for New Zealand v Japan in 1995
4 – Austin Healey for England v Tonga in 1999
4 – Brian O’Driscoll for Ireland v Namibia in 2003

Carries

This is the second list that McCaw tops, and it won’t be his last.

Most carries in World Cup history

217 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
206 – Schalk Burger (South Africa)
179 – Lawrence Dallaglio (England)
160 – Gavin Hastings (Scotland)
159 – David Campese (Australia)

Meanwhile, only one player has broken the triple-digit ceiling.

Most carries in a single tournament

104 – Lawrence Dallaglio (England) in 2003
96 – Schalk Burger (South Africa) in 2015
86 – Beauden Barrett (New Zealand) in 2019
85 – Mils Muliaina (New Zealand) in 2003
84 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand) in 2003

Finally, Nick Easter holds the record for the most carries in a World Cup match.

Most carries in a World Cup match

31 – Nick Easter for England v Uruguay in 2015
27 – Josh Lewsey for England v Georgia in 2003
26 – Schalk Burger for South Africa v Wales in 2015
25 – Mircea Paraschiv for Romania v Zimbabwe in 1987
24 – Gavin Hastings for Scotland v Ivory Coast in 1995
24 – Jason Robinson for England v Georgia in 2003

Metres

Lomu features again, unsurprisingly, as he leads the metres gained statistic, with Habana on his heels.

Most metres in World Cup history

1,219 – Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)
1,048 – Bryan Habana (South Africa)
1,040 – David Campese (Australia)
999 – Jason Robinson (England)
959 – Gavin Hastings (Scotland)

Lomu just sneaks onto the most metres gained in a single tournament.

Most metres in a single tournament

717 – Mat Rogers (Australia) in 2003
702 – Glen Osborne (New Zealand) in 1995
699 – Jason Robinson (England) in 2003
651 – Mils Muliaina (New Zealand) in 2003
631 – Jonah Lomu (New Zealand) in 1999

The record for the most metres in a single World Cup match is held by former Wallabies full-back Chris Latham, who posted a staggering 293 against Namibia in 2003.

Most metres in a World Cup match

293 – Chris Latham for Australia v Namibia in 2003
283 – Mat Rogers for Australia v Namibia in 2003
252 – Glen Osborne for New Zealand v Japan in 1995
238 – John Kirwan for New Zealand v Italy in 1987
227 – Marc Ellis for New Zealand v Japan in 1995

Defenders beaten

Lomu was a nightmare for defences to handle, and his defenders beaten prove that, as he holds a 16-player gap between the next-best tally at World Cup.

Most defenders beaten in World Cup history

97 – Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)
71 – David Campese (Australia)
64 – John Kirwan (New Zealand)
52 – Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)
52 – Tim Horan (Australia)

Lomu even holds the two records for the most defenders beaten in a single World Cup.

Most metres in a single tournament

49 – Jonah Lomu (New Zealand) in 1999
48 – Jonah Lomu (New Zealand) in 1995
37 – John Kirwan (New Zealand) in 1987
36 – Lote Tuqiri (Australia) in 2003
35 – Jason Robinson (England) in 2003

And while the late great All Black does come in second place for the most defenders beaten in a World Cup match, the record holder holds a comfortable lead.

Most defenders beaten in a World Cup match

24 – Vilimoni Delasau for Fiji v USA in 2003
15 – Jonah Lomu for New Zealand v Scotland in 1995
15 – Seru Rabeni for Fiji v USA in 2003
14 – David Campese for Australia v Canada in 1995
14 – Glen Osborne for New Zealand v Japan in 1995
14 – Lote Tuqiri for Australia v Namibia in 2003
14 – Jake Polledri for Italy v Canada in 2019

Kicks in play

Next, we take a look at which players have kicked the most in open play in the global showpiece.

Most kicks in play in World Cup history

208 – Rob Andrew (England)
186 – Gareth Rees (Canada)
180 – Michael Lynagh (Australia)
174 – Jonny Wilkinson (England)
152 – Juan Martin Hernandez (Argentina)

Former Los Pumas back Juan Martin Hernandez kicked an incredible 130 times during the 2007 World Cup, helping his side finish third overall. He has kicked 23 times more at a World Cup than any other player.

Most kicks in play in a single tournament

130 – Juan Martin Hernandez (Argentina) in 2007
107 – Rob Andrew (England) in 1991
83 – Michael Lynagh (Australia) in 1991
80 – Rob Andrew (England) in 1995
79 – David Campese (Australia) in 1987

Hernandez unsurprisingly holds the record for the most kicks in one game, too. He set the record in the pool stage match against Ireland in 2007.

Most kicks in play in a World Cup match

32 – Juan Martin Hernandez for Argentina v Ireland in 2007
27 – David Campese for Australia v Ireland in 1987
26 – Jannie De Beer for South Africa v Australia in 1999
26 – Juan Martin Hernandez for Argentina v Scotland in 2007
25 – Joe Clarkson for USA v Japan in 1987
25 – Ralph Keyes for Ireland v Namibia in 1991

Tackles made

McCaw features again as the player who has made the most tackles in Rugby World Cup history.

Most tackles in World Cup history

226 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
210 – Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
209 – Schalk Burger (South Africa)
188 – Thierry Dusautoir (France)
160 – David Pocock (Australia)

However, two Wales players lead the charts for the most tackles in one World Cup, with Jones in fourth spot.

Most tackles in a single tournament

83 – Taulupe Faletau (Wales) in 2011
80 – Colin Charvis (Wales) in 2003
79 – Thierry Dusautoir (France) in 2011
79 – Alun Wyn Jones (Wales) in 2019
77 – Francois Louw (South Africa) in 2015
77 – Lood de Jager (South Africa) in 2015

In 2007, Thierry Dusautoir produced a stunning performance against New Zealand, where he made a record 28 tackles in one match, a tally that has since been matched but never broken.

Most tackles in a World Cup match

28 – Thierry Dusautoir for France v New Zealand in 2007
28 – Taulupe Faletau for Wales v Samoa in 2011
28 – Jonny Gray for Scotland v Japan in 2019
26 – Richie McCaw for New Zealand v Australia in 2003
26 – Dan Lydiate for Wales v Ireland in 2011
26 – Beka Gorgadze for Georgia v Australia in 2019

Turnovers won

There is a surprise entry in third place in this statistic, but Wallabies legend David Pocock and double World Cup-winning captain McCaw unsurprisingly hold the top two spots.

Most turnovers won in World Cup history

34 – David Pocock (Australia)
25 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
23 – Joost van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
20 – Sam Warburton (Wales)
20 – Josh Kronfeld (Wales)
20 – Francois Louw (South Africa)

Pocock takes up two spots in the top five, with Louw, Warburton and Dean Richards completing the list.

Most turnovers won in a single tournament

17 – David Pocock (Australia) in 2015
13 – Sam Warburton (Wales) in 2011
13 – Francois Louw (South Africa) in 2015
12 – Dean Richards (England) in 1987
12 – David Pocock (Australia) in 2011

However, the record for the most turnovers in one World Cup match comes from Fiji, with Koli Rakoroi making a superb six turnovers against the All Blacks in 1987.

Most turnovers in a World Cup match

6 – Koli Rakoroi for Fiji v New Zealand in 1987
5 – Piergianni Farina for Italy v Fiji in 1987
5 – Carlo Checchinato for Italy v New Zealand in 1991
5 – Nicolas Grille for Uruguay v South Africa in 1999
5 – Kain Cross for USA v Fiji in 2003
5 – John Roe for Australia v Namibia in 2003
5 – Sam Warburton for Wales v South Africa in 2011
5 – Sam Warburton for Wales v Samoa in 2011
5 – Scott Williams for Wales v Fiji in 2011
5 – David Pocock for Australia v Fiji in 2015
5 – Andrew Durutalo for USA v Japan in 2015
5 – Francois Louw for South Africa v Argentina in 2015
5 – Beka Gorgadze for Georgia v Australia in 2019

READ MORE: Rugby World Cup team tracker: All the line-ups for the thrilling opening weekend’s action





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