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A selection of statistics thrown up during the pool phase of Rugby World Cup 2015

LONDON, 12 Oct - The Rugby News Service stats team were doing their sums during the pool phase of Rugby World Cup 2015 and have come up some intriguing and illuminating figures.

- days between Japan's first World Cup victory and their second, against South Africa in Pool B on the opening weekend (pictured above). They waited only 14 days to achieve their third against Samoa.

- points scored in the pool phase at RWC 2015, the lowest aggregate since the World Cup's pool phase was extended to 40 matches in 2003, an indication of the improving competitiveness of the 20 teams at the World Cup. 

- caps in the starting XV of New Zealand's team against Argentina, a world record for a test.

- tries scored at England 2015, the fewest since the World Cup's pool phase was extended to 40 matches in 2003.

- the combined number of caps between Matias Aguero (36), Leonardo Ghiraldini (78, pictured) and Martin Castrogiovanni (113), Italy's front row in their opening match against France. It was the most-capped starting front-row in RWC history.

- penalties scored during the  pool phase, breaking the record of 163 set during the pool matches at RWC 2003.

- points have now been scored by Frédéric Michalak at World Cups, breaking the France record of 124 set by Thierry Lacroix 20 years ago. Michalak is now eighth on the all-time list of RWC points-scorers.

- New Zealand's Ma'a Nonu (above), in the 47-9 win over Tonga, made his 100th appearance. Scotland's Sean Lamont also hit his century for Scotland, in the 36-33 win over Samoa.

- points is the biggest winning margin at this tournament, achieved by South Africa when they beat USA 64-0. At least one team has 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 26 per cent lower than at any time over the last 20 years.

- points scored by tournament top scorer Greig Laidlaw (above), the most by a Scotland player in the pool phase for 12 years, since Chris Paterson managed the same total in 2003. Only Gavin Hastings - 89 at RWC 1995 - has scored more for Scotland during a pool phase. 

- points scored by Samoa in their losing cause in Pool B against Scotland, the most by a losing team since Wales lost 38-34 to Fiji at RWC 2007.

- average age of the Samoa team which beat USA and the Tonga team which lost to Argentina, the two oldest starting XVs in Rugby World Cup history. Tonga's team averaged 31 years and 28 days, beating Samoa's record from 16 days earlier by 23 days.

- tests that Ireland's front row of Cian Healy, Rory Best and Mike Ross have started together. They are the first northern hemisphere front row to start 30 tests.

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

- unanswered points Romania scored in the second half to overturn Canada's 15-0 lead and win 17-15, the greatest comeback in RWC history.

- tally of tries scored by Bryan Habana of South Africa at World Cups after bagging five in Pool B at England 2015.

- Georgia scored five tries at England 2015 to take their all-time RWC total to 14. They have converted all 14.

- tries now scored by Keith Earls at World Cups, breaking Brian O'Driscoll's Ireland record in nine fewer games.

- starting XVs with an average age of over 30 at this World Cup, more than at any other previous staging.  

 - World Cups at which Italy's Mauro Bergamasco has now appeared, equalling Samoan Brian Lima's record.

- number of matches in which DTH Van Der Merwe (above) scored a try, becoming the second player after Wales' Shane Williams in 2007 to record a 100 per cent record of touching down in pool matches at a World Cup.

- victories achieved by Japan, the first team to win this many pool matches and not progress through to the knockout stages. 

RNS sg/ct/as/bj/tc/sw