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, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14