Study highlights World Cup success

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Lynn McConnell     18 Dec 2015     Getty Images

World Rugby has released its game analysis report from the tournament and it showed that the World Cup was the most spoken about single sporting event during the year on social media.

It also showed that scoring tries is back in fashion with a record five scored in the final while average winning margins were lower than any previous tournament, confirming the increased competitiveness of games.

World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "New Zealand were worthy champions but this report clearly underscores why rugby was the winner.

"At the very heart of the success story was the compelling action on the field which saw rankings upsets and the smallest average winning margin across the 48 matches and more significantly, the smallest average winning margin between the world's top teams and emerging rugby powers.

"World Rugby continues to be committed to closing the performance gap as we enter a new Rugby World Cup cycle and look forward to the first tournament to be hosted in Asia," he said.

World Rugby would continue to act on the lessons from 2015 and invest in structure and competitions to assist emerging nations to take the next step up and challenge for quarter-final places in Japan.

The analysis highlighted New Zealand's claim to the title of world champion.

They scored more tries than their opponents in all seven matches. They had a high scrum retention rate, losing only one of 38.

New Zealand's ruck retention rate was the best of any side.

New Zealand scored 39 tries originating in their own half - more than any other team.

Another key fact was that New Zealand scored more tries from their own lineout than any other team, and that was the most successful origin of their tries which was far greater than any other team.

Just how much the game has changed since going professional in 1995 was also borne out in the stats.

The time the ball is in play has increased by 26 percent to 44 percent per match.

Passes in a game have increased by 40 percent from 201 to 282 while rucks have increased by nearly 90 percent from 94 to 178.

Kicks have decreased from 59 to 39 per match and scrums have more than halved from 23 to 13 per game.

No surprise surrounded the fact that Southern Hemisphere teams were more effective in try scoring by scoring 50 percent more tries than penalty goals while Northern Hemisphere sides were the exact opposite.

The average of five tries per match in the knockout stages and five tries in the final was the highest average since the first World Cup in 1987.

And for the emerging nations there were positives as well.

They scored 30 percent more tries against tier one teams than in 2011. Tonga enjoyed more possession than their opponents in all four games.

Japan and the United States were the only teams to enjoy a 100 percent success on their own scrums while Fiji were best at winning opponents' scrums.

Namibia's four tries from turnovers were exceeded by only two other teams and they also had the second best kick at goal rate.