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    Clarke fit for S15 final

    2012-08-02 08:19

    Hamilton - Chiefs rugby captain Craig Clarke has passed a late fitness test on a knee injury, enabling coach Dave Rennie to name an unchanged lineup for Saturday's Super Rugby final against the Durban-based Sharks.

    Clarke was injured as the Chiefs beat the Crusaders 20-17 in last weekend's semifinal to reach the final for only the second time. The giant lock convinced the Chiefs' medical staff on Thursday that he was fit to start in the sold-out final.

    Rennie retained the forward pack that stared down the seven-time champion Crusaders and kept a backline which includes Sonny Bill Williams, who will play his last Super Rugby match before heading to Japan.

    Prop Sona Taumalolo has been retained and, after scoring his ninth try of the season in last weekend's semifinal to become the leading New Zealand tryscorer in the tournament.

    Young tighthead prop Ben Tameifuna has also been retained after a strong match against the Crusaders, while Samoa World Cup captain Mahonri Schwalger remains at hooker.

    Tanerau Latimer has been confirmed on the open-side flank, keeping his young All Blacks understudy Sam Cane among the reserves.

    Four current or former All Blacks have been named on the reserves bench: hooker Hika Elliot, Cane, scrumhalf Brendon Leonard and winger Lelia Masaga.

    Flyhalf Aaron Cruden will oppose his young Springboks counterpart Patrick Lambie after outplaying his All Blacks' teammate Dan Carter last weekend.

    Lambie has overcome an injury and was expected to be named in the Sharks' lineup.

    Teams:

    Chiefs: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Andrew Horrell, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Sona Taumalolo

    Substitutes: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Lelia Masaga

    Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Paul Jordaan, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak,9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis,1 Tendai Mtawarira

    Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Meyer Bosman
    22 Riaan Viljoen
    Read More On:  super 15 rugby

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