Scotty Donaldson looks at the Super 15 Rugby final. Will the Chiefs win their first Super Rugby title? Do people care now the Olympic Games are on?
The Super 15 Rugby final takes place on Saturday night in Hamilton, New Zealand where the Chiefs host the Sharks. It is easy for this game to slip through the cracks with the Olympics being the main focus for sports fans in the past week. This match sees the second placed Chiefs meet the sixth seeded South African team the Sharks who have won their last two matches on the road, but now face another long flight.
Who will win this match?
It is difficult to know how much travel will affect the Sharks during this match. The Sharks have the strongest frontrow in the competition and a really massive robust forward pack lead by Bismarck du Plessis and backed up by some useful backs including the mercurial Frenchman Freddy Michalak and the in-form JP Pietersen. The Sharks are in a rich vein of form and have been playing some nice attacking rugby.
The home side, the Chiefs had the bye and defeated the Crusaders last week and while they have always had devastating ball running backs, their forwards have really stood up under pressure from the top teams. Players like Aaron Cruden, Liam Messam, Sonny Bill Williams, Brodie Retallick and Sona Taumalolo are definitely ones to watch. Coach Dave Rennie with the help of Wayne Smith have worked wonders with this team and any side who can beat the Crusaders in a sudden death match will be tough to beat. Their rushed defence and their ability on attack showed up the Crusaders last week.
Here are the bookies odds.
If you are still playing www.testrugby.com then be aware that although Craig Clarke has been named to start, it will be interesting to see how his knee handles the pressure. His presence, leadership and ability at the set pieces is important to the Chiefs chances. They haven't played well when he hasn't been playing, so they need him. The Sharks haven't been named yet, but could welcome back Patrick Lambie and Paul Jordaan although they have lost Tim Whitehead.
Players to buy - the Sharks haven't been named but you should pick whoever will be kicking goals for the Sharks, Lambie or Michalak, Bismarck du Plessis, Ryan Kankowski, Marcell Coetzee, JP Pietersen. I would also pick Sonny Bill Williams, Aaron Cruden, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Mahonri Schwalger and if you are feeling gutsy, go for Sona Taumalolo!
My pick - I am picking the Chiefs to win the Super 15 Rugby final. It will be the last game of rugby in New Zealand for Sonny Bill Williams and will be the first time the Chiefs have won the Super Rugby title. If you are behind in a picking competition then go for the Chiefs by more than other punters. I think the Sharks will run out of steam. If you have heaps of points behind then go for the Sharks but given the odds from most bookies, the Sharks don't have much of a chance.
Chiefs by 10 points.
The Super Rugby Final Teams Named
1 Sona Taumalolo, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 4 Craig Clarke ©, 5 Brodie Retallick, 6 Liam Messam, 7Tanerau Latimer, 8 Kane Thompson, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 10 Aaron Cruden, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12 Sonny Bill Williams 13 Andrew Horrell, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams 15 Robbie Robinson.
Reserves - 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Lelia Masaga.
For updated team lists go to
Who do you think will win the Super 15 Rugby final 2012? Do you agree with the bookies?
Have your say!