Clarke: Bench did the job for us

Sat, 03 Aug 2013 13:06
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Departing Chiefs captain Craig Clarke paid tribute to the bench players, following their 27-22 triumph over the Brumbies on Saturday.

Departing Chiefs captain Craig Clarke paid tribute to the bench players, following their 27-22 triumph over the Brumbies on Saturday.

The Chiefs came from behind, having trailed 12-22 with less than 20 minutes to go, to claim their second successive Super Rugby crown.

Before a packed crowd of 25,000 at Waikato Stadium, the Chiefs outscored the Brumbies two tries to one.

It also brought to and end the Chiefs careers of five players.
 
Co-captain Clarke (off to Ireland), prop Toby Smith (Melbourne Rebels) and wing Lelia Masaga (Japan) featured in Saturday's victory.
 
Injured centre Richard Kahui (Japan) and another All Black, scrumhalf Brendon Leonard (Italy), had already played their last game after lengthy stints at Waikato and the Chiefs.
 
Clarke described the Brumbies as an "awesome" team that showed a "huge amount of heart".

"They really put us under pressure," Clarke said in his post-match analysis, before paying tribute to his own team for their effort to come back in the final quarter.

"They are a special group," the captain said, adding: "We got fantastic impact off the bench.

"That was the key for us.

"We got a lot of guys on the bench, where there are not much difference between them and the starters.

"They did a great job for us and in the end that was probably the difference."

Describing this year's Final as "more nerve-wracking" than the first championship win last year, he added that they knew they had another in them.

"We knew the Brumbies are a quality side and they showed that at Loftus last week," where the Australian franchise came from behind to beat the Bulls in the semifinal.

"We needed to be able to dictate the tempo of that last period and we did it pretty well.

"It is a tough and long tournament and you have to be consistent. That [being consistent] gave us the opportunity to play [the Final] at home and that helped us."

Asked about his departure, along with four other players, Clarke described it as a "strange feeling".

"I have been doing the same thing for the past five years, doing the Naki thing [playing for Taranaki] and doing the Chiefs thing," the skipper said.

"I sort of fitted into a good rhythm there, but it is going to be a completely different experience. I have definitely enjoyed what we are doing here.

"I have been through some lows and some highs over the last couple of years, I really appreciate the success that we are having.

"However, that is how it is in rugby, people go off and do different things.

"We'll just go off to a new challenge."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
Lions v Bulls 51 | 14
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 18 | 16
Sunwolves v Sharks 17 | 38
Force v Highlanders 6 | 55
Hurricanes v Cheetahs 61 | 7
Fri, 19 May 2017
Leinster v Scarlets 15 | 27
Stormers v Blues 30 | 22
Chiefs v Crusaders 24 | 31
Sat, 13 May 2017
Jaguares v Force 6 | 16
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19