The champions' 'trademark'

Sat, 04 Aug 2012 11:11
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The Chiefs' first Super Rugby title was built on what their captain Craig Clarke describes as their "trademark" defensive commitment.
 

The Chiefs' first Super Rugby title was built on what their captain Craig Clarke describes as their "trademark" defensive commitment.

The Waikato side may have scored four tries in their comprehensive 37-6 victory over the Sharks in the Final on Saturday, but those opportunities were created through the immense pressure they generated through their enthusiastic defensive system.

The home side harassed the Sharks in the collisions and forced them to play off the back foot by disrupting their momentum in a similar fashion to the way they shut the Crusaders down in their semifinal last week.

Clarke said that their aggression and speed off the line had been key to establishing dominance over a Sharks side that have proven character having won two play-off matches away from home.

After taking a 13-3 lead into the half-time break the Chiefs turned the screws on the travel-weary visitors who simply had no reply for their power and accuracy in the tackle.

"The second half showed our trademeark line-speed that we showed last week and the boys were up and getting in their faces. We have got a heap of pride in our defence and we talked about not letting them over for any tries," said Clarke.

The Chiefs skipper said that after a slow start which saw the Sharks enjoy the ascendency without building up a lead, his team found their rhythm and took control of the game in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

"We were a little bit slow out of the blocks, I guess we were coming off a physical game last week but when we got into our work we managed to find our feet," he said.

The Sharks may have had the odds stacked against them after a gruelling campaign, but in truth the Chiefs had earned their advantages through their consistent performances this season which saw them top the New Zealand conference.

The victory will be particularly sweet for coach Dave Rennie who lifts the trophy after his first season in charge, and Clarke admitted that he could not quite believe what they have achieved in such a short space of time.

"It is sort of surreal - a bit like last week - but we are certainly very chuffed," he said.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 February 2017
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
Ulster v Treviso 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Connacht v Zebre 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Edinburgh v Ospreys 19h35 Myreside
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 20h15 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 04 March 2017
Hurricanes v Rebels 04h15 Wellington
Highlanders v Crusaders 06h45 Dunedin
Brumbies v Sharks 08h45 Canberra
Sunwolves v Kings 10h55 Singapore
Lions v Waratahs 13h05 Johannesburg
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 15h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Worcester Warriors v Bristol 15h00 Sixways
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Bath v Wasps 15h00 Recreation Ground
Stormers v Jaguares 15h15 Cape Town
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 25 February 2017
Kings v Jaguares 26 | 39
Scotland v Wales 29 | 13
Cheetahs v Lions 25 | 28
Waratahs v Force 19 | 13
Crusaders v Brumbies 17 | 13
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 17 | 83
Fri, 24 February 2017
Munster v Scarlets 21 | 30
Dragons v Leinster 22 | 54
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 17 | 18
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 18 | 27
Reds v Sharks 28 | 26
Highlanders v Chiefs 15 | 24
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 1 1 0 0 4
Reds 1 1 0 0 4
Brumbies 1 0 0 1 1
Force 1 0 0 1 1
Rebels 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 1 1 0 0 5
Blues 1 1 0 0 5
Chiefs 1 1 0 0 5
Crusaders 1 1 0 0 4
Highlanders 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 0 0 0 0 0
Cheetahs 1 0 0 1 1
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 1 1 0 0 4
Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0
Kings 0 0 0 0 0