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
Fri, 26 August 2016
Golden Lions v Boland 15h00 Johannesburg
Pumas v Griquas 17h10 Kimberley
Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 19h40 Salta
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
Boland v Free State Cheetahs 16 | 44
Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
Blue Bulls v Western Province 45 | 26
Sat, 30 July 2016
Lions v Highlanders 42 | 30
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9