Planet Rugby

Easy does it for super Chiefs

04th August 2012 07:49

Share:

Tim Nanai Williams chiefs v sharks

Opening try: Tim Nanai-Williams

The Chiefs were crowned Super Rugby champions for the first time after brushing aside the toothless Sharks 37-6 in a one-sided final at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium on Saturday.

Whilst the hosts were deserved winners and full value for their win, the Sharks were always going to be at a significant disadvantage following their taxing travelling schedule - their last stop ultimately proving to be a bridge too far for the visitors.

Besides the opening 20 minutes of the game, the season finale was sadly a mis-match as the Chiefs outplayed their travel-weary South African counterparts in all facets of play. All the Sharks had to do was turn up and the Chiefs did the rest.

There wasn't any anxious moments as you would expect in a final compared to last week's two nerve-racking encounters. Instead, relaxed Chiefs fans could sit back and watch their team dismantle the opposition.

Tries by Tim Nanai-Williams, Kane Thompson, Lelia Masaga and Sonny Bill Williams ensured that the Chiefs were always well clear of their opponents.

Fly-half Aaron Cruden delivered another stunning performance and he too ensured that his side stayed in control of proceedings by knocking over all four conversions and three penalties, while the Sharks' only replies came from the boot of fly-half Frederic Michalak.

The French international was not as hot as he was during the play-offs and semis, whilst the returning Patrick Lambie also failed to hit the mark.

Tactically the Sharks dished up their poorest showing of the season while their normally solid defence crumbled as the match wore on. Then there were also a number of unforced errors that added to the team's frustration, and the previously dominant Sharks forwards were put through their paces by a powerhouse Chiefs pack.

The Sharks did enjoy the better of the opening exchanges after a JP Pietersen kick drilled the Chiefs into the corner and Ryan Kankowski stole the line-out. But their only reward was a sole penalty by Michalak before the Chiefs began to work their way into the game with superior forward power and a more accurate kicking game.

A 10-minute period of relentlessly testing the Sharks' defence ended when Chiefs centre Andrew Horrell recovered a Cruden chip kick knocked on by Lambie, and a Williams' break led to Tim Nanai-Williams scoring out wide.

Cruden landed the touchline conversion and two penalties after the Du Plessis brothers Jannie and Bismarck both infringed to have the Chiefs ahead 13-3 at half-time.

Chiefs hooker Mahonri Schwalger put his side in command at the start of the second half when he stole the kick-off from the Sharks forwards. From an attacking scrum, number eight Kane Thompson was able to pick up the ball and run through a huge gap to score the Chiefs' second try.

Replacement wing Lelia Masaga put the match firmly in the Chiefs' grasp with 20 minutes remaining when he snapped up a misdirected Keegan Daniel pass and raced 50 metres to the line, stepping deftly around Lambie on the way.

Cruden landed the conversion and a further penalty before Williams, in his final match for the Chiefs, capped off the scoring with a try in the closing minutes which he followed with a celebratory dive into the crowd.

Man of the match: Tough one! The Chiefs back three were always in the thick of it, while prop Sona Taumalolo was once again a bull-dozer on attack. But the official gong went to co-captain Liam Messam after the match, and we find it pretty hard to argue with that choice.

Moment of the match: It has to be SBW's leap of joy into the home crowd after scoring his try. A sight to behold and one never seen before as far as we can recall in the beautiful game...

Villain of the match: No yellow or red cards shown, but Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna can thank his lucky stars after his high hit on Ryan Kankowski wasn't picked up by the officials.

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Tries: Nanai-Williams, Thompson, Masaga, Williams
Cons: Cruden 4
Pens: Cruden 3

For Sharks:
Pens: Michalak 2

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 (c), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Lelia Masaga.

Sharks: 15 Pat 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 (c), 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Riaan Viljoen.

Referee: Steve Walsh

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Preview
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Glasgow vs UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Preview
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs BluesHurricanes vs Blues Preview
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954