Cape Town - Granted, the All Blacks took the Tri-Nations title. But the Springboks were the most improved team in an aspect in which they did not do well at all.
A statistical analysis of the tournament published by the IRB shows South Africa gave away the smallest number of penalties in its four matches.
This year, the Wallabies came last - as they did in the actual rugby side of the series.
The average number of penalties against Australia was 11.5 per match, 10.7 against New Zealand and only 9.2 against the Springboks.
To illustrate this even better: in 2004 the Boks had 20% more penalties awarded against them than the Wallabies and 50% more than New Zealand.
The 2003 figures were even more negative - 50% more than the other two countries. Rudolf Straeuli was the coach in 2003.
Breakpoints were the main causes of penalties and this shows that there is too large a grey area where decisions are more subjective.
Referees from the Northern Hemisphere seemed to be more pedantic and awarded on average three more penalties per game than their southern counterparts.
A final piece of interest from the report: The All Blacks required on average ball possession of 5.7 minutes per try, South Africa required eight minutes and Australia struggled 10.1 minutes per try.
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