Planet Rugby

Preview: Chiefs v Sharks

26th April 2013 07:48

Share:

Gareth Anscombe Chiefs 2013

Back in the XV: Gareth Anscombe

The Chiefs host the Sharks in a repeat of last year's Super Rugby final at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday, with both teams out of form.

It is the first time these two teams will meet since the Chiefs secured last year's title with a 37-6 victory, but unlike 2012, both sides have been inconsistent this season and are battling to return to their winning ways.

The Chiefs are currently in fifth position on the table, while the Sharks are in seventh place in the standings. Both sides have lost their last two matches - the Chiefs to the Reds and Waratahs and the Sharks to the Stormers and Cheetahs - and will head into this match low on confidence.

That should not detract from what should still be an entertaining spectacle, however. Both sides are exponents of the running game and don't expect them to deviate from that philosophy.

Chiefs boss Dave Rennie knows how important victory is for both teams.

"Last time when these two sides met it was a final, but they are completely different circumstances this time," he said.

The Sharks are a depleted unit, after injuries to several key players, but coach John Plumtree believes his side will have to forget what has happened in the last couple of weeks and focus on delivering a top class performance.

"We just have to dig in and do our best," he said.

"We've worked really hard on our game, trying to improve our game, trying to improve our attack, but it is really difficult with all these (injury) setbacks."

The track record of previous matches between these two teams reveals that the Chiefs hold a slight edge over the Durban-based franchise with nine victories to the Sharks seven wins in sixteen matches played.

The men from Hamilton hold a psychological edge over their opponents, however, as they have won the last four matches - including two wins in Durban in 2012 and 2010 - in which these teams played against each other.

The Sharks are desperate for a win after slipping out of the play-off positions last weekend while the Chiefs know a loss could see them also missing out on the knockout stages as the tournament heads towards its business end.

Prediction: Both sides will give everything to leave the field as victors which should make this a very close encounter. The Sharks' undoing could prove to be the long flight they undertook from Durban earlier this week. Chiefs to win by five points!

The teams:

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Richard Kahui, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Nick Crosswell, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Michael Kainga, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Bundee Aki, 22 Charlie Ngatai.

Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Francois Steyn, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Piet Lindeque, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jean Deysel (c), 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Wiehahn Herbst.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 S'bura Sithole.

Date: Saturday, April 27
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: Waikato Stadium
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
Television match official: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs AustraliaBarbarians vs Australia Preview
USA vs New ZealandUSA vs New Zealand Preview
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Preview
Glasgow vs Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Ospreys vs ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Preview
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs MunsterCardiff Blues vs Munster Preview
Scarlets vs ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Preview
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gonsUlster vs Newport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615