Super Rugby: Chiefs Beat Travel-Weary Sharks in One-Sided Final
The Chiefs have beaten the Sharks by 37-6 to claim their first Super Rugby championship. It was a one-sided affair that the Chiefs dominated from the word go, with the Sharks hardly firing a shot all night.
It was hardly a surprise. Despite the rich vein of form this Sharks side has shown in recent times, the amount of travel they have had to do would have hampered any team. They looked a very tired team, and it showed.
The Chiefs took command early on, maintaining the upper hand in the possession and territory stakes. Wave after wave of attack came from the home side, forcing the Sharks to defend for a lengthy period of time. They did this exceptionally well, keeping the Chiefs out for ten minutes.
But something had to give, and it was Tim Nanai-Williams who touched down for the first try of the game. It was to be the only try of the first half, as the Chiefs took a 13-3 lead to the break, having played most of the rugby.
The second half saw the flood gates begin to open. It was clear the travel was starting to take its toll on the Sharks, as they leaked three tries, all of which were converted, along with a further penalty. In response, they were only able to manage one penalty, taking the full time score to a resounding 37-6.
You couldn't begrudge the Chiefs the win, as they have been one of the form sides all season and had to go through a strong Crusaders side last week to make the final.
The final in the end became something of a non-event due to the travel factor, but it is the Chiefs' form all season that should be remembered rather than what turned out to be a walk over final.
Aaron Cruden was once again outstanding, and has further pushed his case to be the starting All Black flyhalf, whilst Sonny Bill Williams was always dangerous outside him in his last game for the franchise.
The forward pack worked well together as they have all year and it was them that ensured the Sharks never got an opportunity to fire a shot.
That makes the Chiefs just the sixth franchise to win the competition in it's 17 year history, while Wayne Smith became the first coach or assistant coach to win a championship with two franchises.
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