Saturday, 4 August sees the Chiefs host the Sharks in the 2012 SupeRugby final in Hamilton, New Zealand. The two teams followed very different roads to get to the final, but both caused upsets by winning the seni-finals. The only question that remains to be answered now is who will be the Champions come Saturday.
The sharks finished in 6 place over all and had to travel first to Brisbane to play the Reds and qualifying for their semi-final against the Stormers. Travelling to Cape Town and beating the Stormers meant they would have to travel to New Zealand for the final. A 3rd flight in as many weeks sees them the firm underdogs, but if ever a team can do win after that much flying, it is the Sharks. Before their last conference game Captain, Keegan Daniel said that to win the title they new they had to win 4 games on the road. They have won 3 and only the final remains.
John Plumtree has included Pat Lambie and Paul Jordaan in his starting line-up, but don’t be surprised if he changes the team yet again before kick-off. This will be the Sharks biggest test to date and if they do succeed it will go down in History as one of the greates victories in SupeRugby.
The Chiefs finished second overall and had a home semi-final after a week of rest. Although they were the underdogs in their semi-final against the Crusaders, they managed to win by a slim 3 point margin. Getting ready to travel to Cape Town, they got the good news that they would host the final as the Sharks won. They are the favourites to win and with home ground advantage and the travelling schedule of the Sharks no one can go against that.
They have however lost some momentum in their last couple of cenference games and the long season started to tell. Thjey should have enough in the tank to beat the Sharks, but they can’t be complacent as the Sharks have a lot of heart and momentum.
If I have to choose a winner, it will be the Sharks. Margin wise it will be close either way.
Sharks team: Patrick Lambie, Louis Ludik, JP Pietersen, Paul Jordaan, Lwazi Mvovo, Frederic Michalak, Charl McLeod, Ryan Kankowski, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel (capt), Anton Bresler, Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: Craig Burden, Wiehahn Herbst, Steven Sykes, Jacques Botes, Jean Deysel, Meyer Bosman, Riaan Viljoen.
Chiefs team: Sona Taumalolo, Mahonri Schwalger, Ben Tameifuna, Craig Clarke, Brodie Retallick, Liam Messam, Tanerau Latimer, Kane Thompson, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Cruden, Aseli Tikoirotuma, Sonny Bill Williams, Andrew Horrell, Tim Nanai-Williams, Robbie Robinson
Replacements: Hikawera Elliott, Ben Afeaki, Mike Fitzgerald, Sam Cane, Brendon Leonard, Jackson Willison, Lelia Masaga
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