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Chiefs prove a cut above to land first crown


Rugby Union Hamilton, Nz

The Chiefs celebrate winning the Super Rugby title.

The Chiefs celebrate winning the Super Rugby title. Photo: Getty Images

SONNY Bill Williams scored a try in his last game for the Chiefs yesterday as the Waikato side claimed its first Super Rugby title with a 37-6 win over South Africa's Sharks.

The Chiefs were more clinical and made fewer errors than the Sharks on a wet night, running up a 13-3 lead by half-time and outscoring the Durban-based team four tries to nil.

They become only the sixth side to win the crown in the 17-year history of the championship.

The Chiefs were largely written off at the start of the season but proved the pundits wrong by winning the New Zealand conference and finishing second on the table.

They started the final the fresher side, having had the luxury of being at home the past three weeks while the Sharks had an arduous travel schedule encompassing Brisbane, Cape Town and Hamilton, New Zealand.

Chiefs captain Craig Clarke said his side's confidence grew as they worked their way into the game.

''We managed to disrupt them a bit in the air and put them on the ground so they couldn't drive,'' he said. ''The second half showed our trademark line speed and the boys were getting up in their face. We've got a heap of pride in our defence and we talked about not letting them over and keeping to no tries.''

Sharks captain Keegan Daniel regretted his side did not score points when it dominated early. ''That's what finals rugby is about,'' he said. ''You get such a little amount of opportunity to score and you should capitalise and when we dominated the game early on we didn't put that into points. No excuses. The Chiefs were outstanding tonight. They really suffocated us.''

The Sharks' only reward for their early domination was a sole penalty by Frederic Michalak before the Chiefs began to work their way into the game. A 10-minute period of relentlessly testing the Sharks' defence ended when the Chiefs recovered an Aaron Cruden chip kick and a Williams break led to Tim Nanai-Williams scoring wide out.

Williams capped off the scoring with a try in the closing minutes which he followed with a celebratory dive into the crowd.

Sharks coach John Plumtree praised and damned the Chiefs in the same breath and took a potshot at the structure of the play-offs after his team hit a brick wall in the final.

''Whether you can buy another week [of rest] with the format they've got, with internationals coming up now, I doubt. It would have done us a favour if they did.''

He said the hosts boasted ''outstanding tiers of attack'' which his tired side couldn't contain but singled out what he believed was cynical and ''illegal'' play which should have been spotted by referee and fellow New Zealander Steve Walsh.AFP

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs WAL 0 02:00Twic
NZL 0vs FRA 0 06:00MilS
IRE 0vs ARG 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 0vs SCO 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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