The football doesn't stop!

The 2014 SWC might be over, but the PSL and English Premiership are around the corner! Have your say on our Forum!

LIVE

    Sharks relish underdog tag

    2012-08-03 09:06

    Wellington - The Sharks have said they relish the underdog tag ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby final where favourites the Chiefs have been boosted by confirmation captain Craig Clarke has been cleared to play.

    The Chiefs host the championship decider at home in Hamilton because of their superior placing in the regular season where they finished second while the Sharks were the sixth and last team to qualify for the play-offs.

    To make the top six, after mixed fortunes through the first half of the year, the Sharks won six of their final seven regular season games.

    They have since clocked up a Super finals series travelling record as they criss-crossed the Indian Ocean three times to beat the Reds in Brisbane, the Stormers in Cape Town and then to reach Hamilton.

    But coach John Plumtree reckons doing it the hard way has been good for the team.

    "It's given us that little bit of confidence going into the big game. We've beaten the Australian conference winners, the South African winners and now we take on the New Zealand winners, it's been great for our team spirit," he said.

    "We know we have a lot of support back home and we're also aware of the fact that no-one is really giving us a chance, so it's an opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong that we can pick ourselves up and go again."

    During the regular season the Sharks lost six of 16 matches while the Chiefs dropped four after being written off at the start of the year as a side that lacked depth of experience.

    Much of their ability to close out matches lay with the leadership skills of Clarke whose appearance in the final was in doubt after he strained a knee ligament during last week's semi-final win against the Crusaders.

    He was only cleared to play late on Thursday and his locking partner Brodie Retallick said it was the tonic the Chiefs were looking for.

    "It's just awesome what he's done and to have him out there, just with his leadership around the field and come lineout time, it's definitely a bonus to have him there," he said.

    The Chiefs will be starting with the same run-on side that beat the Crusaders 20-17 in the semi-finals while the Sharks have made two changes to the side that beat the Stormers 26-19.

    Paul Jordaan replaces the injured Tim Whitehead at inside centre and Patrick Lambie returns from injury to start at fullback ahead of Riaan Viljoen.

    In the history of Super rugby the Chiefs have a slight edge over the Sharks winning eight of their 15 clashes including the last three.

    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 News24’s Comments Policy

    24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    100 comments
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    • SS3
      Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @04:00
    • SS4:
      Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @05:00
    • SS7:
      Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @06:00
    • SS5:
      Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @06:00
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk

    Fixtures

    02 August 2014
    • Waratahs v Crusaders, Sydney 11:40

    Results

    26 July 2014
    19 July 2014
    12 July 2014
    11 July 2014
    06 July 2014
    05 July 2014
    04 July 2014
    28 June 2014
    27 June 2014
    31 May 2014
    30 May 2014
    24 May 2014
    23 May 2014
    18 May 2014
    17 May 2014
    16 May 2014
    11 May 2014
    10 May 2014
    09 May 2014
    03 May 2014
    02 May 2014
    26 April 2014
    25 April 2014
    19 April 2014
    18 April 2014
    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    EXPERT OPINION

    “Advantage is a great part of rugby, says Tank Lanning, but it allows for lots of personal interpretation, hence Victor Matfield’s tirade. ”

    Opinion Poll

    The 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby final will be contested between the Waratahs and Crusaders. Who is your money on?

    Soccer World Cup quiz!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.