PNC- over 800 minutes of rugby played
After playing over 800 minutes of rugby in this fantastic Pacific Nations Cup it came down to the 797th minute for the NZ Maori to stun Australia A with the winning blow. Things got even more exciting when in the 803rd minute Australia A had a long range kick at goal to snatch the win back, but Mark Gerrard was just short. This shows great character and unreal fitness and dedication of the players involved. Right across the board in this competition closeness has been a big part of the games.
The stats reveal some interesting results. For starters Japan are on the attack a lot more this year, they scored more points than any of the Island nations did, in all they scored 121 points outdoing the flying Fijians by 27 points & just falling short of NZ Maori points scored total by 13 points.
Australia A racked up a staggering 220 points in their 5 games, they were by far the most attacking team in the PNC. In the end though it was the team with the best defensive record that came out on top, the NZ Maori had a mere 44 points scored against them in 5 games, not bad when you have the calibre of teams running against them. In another tussle Samoa snatched 3rd place with a sole points difference over Fiji, they both conceded 117 points and Samoa scored 95 points to literally get one up on their neighbours.
A Japanese player James Arlidge was the top individual points maker with 56, the most attacking team only had the 5th most individual scorer and that was Mark Gerrard with 28. Proving what a team effort the Aussies were is that Stephen Hoiles was the top try scorer with 5 tries, followed by team mates Morgan Turinui & Timana Tahu with 4 a piece.
This competition has expanded all nations involved, the game is alive and well and from this more players are reaping the rewards from the exposure gained in this international arena. Timana Tahu has now busted his way into the Wallabies senior side along with Richard Brown, Turner and Hugh McMeniman.
The top nations of the South Pacific the All Blacks and Australia A will have joy in their obvious depth. Japan will be smiling as they are up one place from last year and proved they can score a lot, the Island boys will be a little less happy. These 3 nations have dropped the ball a bit, but to be fair they are at full strength for such a short period and we all know on their day they can cause havoc. All is all the rugby in this part of the world is on the rise as ever and bring on next season…
For the number geeks here are a few more details for ya:
1 - the number of drop goals in the whole 800 minutes
92 - the number of tries scored
62 - the number of conversions made
0 - the number of penalty tries