CAMPO: Here’s hoping for a great clash with two fantastic teams
Chiefs' Liam Messam is tackled by Durban Sharks' Keegan Daniels . AFP PHOTO
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It was a great weekend of rugby, and especially good to again see the New Zealand sides play in an attacking and positive manner.
They really have been the benchmark all season.
The Crusaders let themselves down in their semi-final by not going away from their traditional style of rugby. Sometimes you’ve got to change a few things to get up in those close games.
This was relevant for the Chiefs in the way they defended. The input that Wayne Smith had on the Chiefs game plan assisted in upsetting the Crusaders’ attack.
He coached the Crusaders a few years back, so had great insight into how to upset their game plan.
Although they dominated the game with strong defense for the first 40-50 minutes and really got up in the face of the Crusaders’ players, they also dominated the attack.
The Crusaders are a good team, but they weren’t able to play their usual style. And with Sonny Bill Williams playing against his old team, they didn’t have the same explosive power they enjoyed when he was there.
Robbie Fruean, when placed under pressure, often struggles, which is why he isn’t in the All Blacks team. Sometimes he thinks he can do it all.
The others were solid, but not threatening enough with the ball. Carter needed runners to help with their attack.
But still, the style and the quickness of the game in general was unbelievable. It was very different from the way the Australian teams have been playing, but it was how I would love to see them play.
Back on South African soil, the Stormers came up short when their defence-dominated style failed to make an impact.
The Sharks, who love to attack, showed that the best form of defence is attack – the proof in the pudding that defensive rugby can only take a side so far.
It was good to see attack win again.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Sharks handle the Chiefs in the final. Both teams have very different styles, and the turnaround time is short, not giving the Sharks much time to get ready specifically for this match.
I remember the final last year when the Crusaders had to travel every second week.
The Sharks will also be hampered somewhat in their preparation by the travel involved as well as a few injuries.
Regardless, the Super Rugby final will be a fascinating game and one much anticipated by rugby followers everywhere.
As long as the Sharks remember that defence won’t win you everything, they’ll be competitive. And they will need to score some tries to get up against the aggressive Chiefs side.
I’ll be especially interested to see what impact the referee has on the match.
There have been lots of problems over the past few weeks or so with the TMOs and questionable on-the-ground decisions.
And, of course, refereeing is very much in the news right now in the wake of Graham Henry’s controversial claims about Wayne Barnes and his officiating in the 2007 RWC. It’s all quite unbelievable, even though it’s actually not that hard to believe.
Is it just coincidence that after that World Cup final between New Zealand and France, Barnes mysteriously went missing for about 6 months?
Back to the Super Rugby final, it’s going to be tough challenge for the Sharks, but on the day, anything is possible. Let’s hope like the Brumbies and Stormers, they don’t waste all their hard work by letting themselves down in the last game of the tournament.
Hopefully, we’ll see two teams with some great individuals playing attacking rugby. What a great way to watch the last game of Super 15.
Let’s sit back and enjoy what should be a sensational game.
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