Chiefs v Sharks: Super Rugby Final live scores, blog
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Chiefs' Liam Messam is tackled by Durban Sharks' Keegan Daniels . AFP PHOTO
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The Chiefs Vs. The Sharks
2012 Super Rugby Tournament, 5 August, 2012
|Waikato Stadium, Hamilton|
|Chiefs 13 v Sharks 3 (2nd Half)|
|The Chiefs||The Sharks|
|Referee: SR Walsh|
|Touch judges: C Joubert & K Brown|
The Chiefs will host the Sharks this week in the final of the 2012 Super Rugby season. Join us from 5.30pm AEST for all the live scores, commentary and banter for what could be a classic Super Rugby final.
This match pits two sides that play a similarly attacking style against one another. But both sides have travelled a very different path to reach this final.
The Chiefs were the front runners all year. They started well and weren’t headed until right at the end of the conference stage, after they had secured their position atop the New Zealand conference. They have also had the luxury of playing all of their rugby since May in New Zealand itself.
In contrast, the Sharks have travelled thousands of kilometres in the last couple of weeks alone. They have broken through 30,000km travelled mark in the finals series.
Their squad could be forgiven for wondering just what they have put themselves through – almost flawless against the Reds and the stronger all-round team against the Sharks last week – only to then have to fly back halfway around the world to play the Chiefs.
However when the dust settles, if they find themselves on top of the dias, I don’t think they will mind how many hours they’ve spent airborne or whether their bodies are weary.
John Plumtree hasn’t been shy making changes to the team sheet. Riaan Viljoen makes way for Springbok Pat Lambie’s return from injury, despite performing admirably last week.
The very promising Paul Jordaan is being trusted to walk straight back into the side at inside centre and will pair with JP Pietersen in the midfield.
If the backline doesn’t look as effective as in the last few weeks Plumtree will encounter lines of questioning around these selections.
To be sure, he is placing a lot of trust in Lambie epecially, as he has been out for longer than Jordaan, but I don’t think either player will make the side poorer.
No changes have been made to the team in numbers 1 through to 10, so we will again see Wilhelm Alberts provide a fourth backrower to the powerful Sharks pack.
The same 15 men that got the job done last week were good enough for Dave Rennie to name an unchanged Chiefs starting side.
The notable point is that despite being slightly in doubt earlier in the week, captain Craig Clarke will lead his men out for the most important match of the year.
On paper these sides match up quite well. In the backs Aaron Cruden and Sonny Bill Williams probably give the edge to the Chiefs. The likes of Bismark du Plessis, Keegan Daniel, Ryan Kankowski and Alberts possibly put the Sharks pack a nose in front.
Overall there is very little to separate these sides. If form is rewarded at national level a number of these faces will line up across from each other a few more times this year.
Both sides thrive a more similar playing style than would be typical of a New Zealand v South Africa match-up.
They both attack at their best on the counter. Neither will turn down a chance to score at close range with prolonged possession, but they especially enjoy a chance to attack from range with turnover ball or a poorly placed kick.
Defence is a strong feature of both sides too. While others in this competition may hit harder on occassion not many teams employ the bend but don’t break philosophy very well.
They scramble, pick their moments to counter ruck aggressively and keep strong numbers in the line.
Both semi finals finished with the winning team defending a one score lead along their own 22m line.
On both occassions trust in the pattern was employed to avoid penalties, tackles were completed without fuss and were patience displayed to wait until the right opportunity to attack the ball.
This grand final is going to be exciting. Neither side has won the competition despite reaching this very match previously. No one would begrude either fan base their first trophy to celebrate.
The Chiefs have proven themelves by setting the pace for the rest right from round one. The Sharks have displayed considerable mettle and their pressence after traveling so far cannot be understated.
Now all is left is to see which team shows themself deserving after the final 80 minutes. Join us as we cover the action from 5.35pm AEST.
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