Super Rugby XV Final Chiefs will play against Sharks

The longest season in Super Rugby history comes to an exciting conclusion this weekend, with the Super Rugby Final between the Chiefs and Sharks guaranteed to provide a new champion.The New Zealand Conference champion Chiefs and the sixth placed overall wildcard qualifier Sharks, the last two franchises standing, will offer a wonderful encounter considering their different paths to the final match of the 2012 season.The Chiefs, courtesy of their standing as a top-two regular season finisher, had a break during the Super Rugby Qualifiers, but then had to account for the Crusaders in the Semi-Final, with a 20-17.

This came after an outstanding regular season where the Chiefs finished with a New Zealand record regular season ledger of 12 wins from 16 matches, while establishing a franchise record nine straight wins and a franchise record six straight home wins – although question marks were raised when they slumped to back-to-back defeats to the Crusaders and Hurricanes to close out their campaign.

The Sharks have had to do it the hard way, having to mount an incredible late season finish to qualify for the Super Rugby Finals Series, winning six of their last seven matches, with their only blemish being against the Lions – a result that cost the Sharks a South African clean sweep towards the end of the regular season.Celebrations in Durban in reaching the Super Rugby Finals Series were tempered by the long haul to face the Reds in Brisbane, and even that victory over the defending champions merely booked another long flight to battle the Stormers in Cape Town.

While the Crusaders may have set Super Rugby’s travelling record last season due to the Christchurch earthquake, the Sharks are looking at breaking the Super Rugby Finals Series travelling ledger, with their trip clocking over 30,000km so far.At least the Sharks had six of their last eight regular season matches in Durban, although that late run of home comfort must seem a distant memory for the South Africans.This Super Rugby Final, the Sharks first since 2007, also represents the first time since that season that the decider has featured two combatants still to win the championship.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie and Sharks coach John Plumtree have both said that history doesn’t count for much coming into this match, but the fifteen clashes between the two sides represent a colourful rivalry.The Chiefs have won the last three matches, a run that gives them a one-win advantage (8-7) over the Sharks, who actually won seven of their first twelve encounters between the sides.Further to this is that fact that Chiefs territory won’t hold too many fears for the Sharks (despite the Chiefs six from eight record at Waikato Stadium this year), as the South African visitors won in Taupo in 2001, and in Hamilton in 2003 and 2009.Statistically, the head to head is one of the most even in Super Rugby competition, with just eight points and two tries separating the teams since first clashing in 1998.The Super Rugby Final, the Chiefs second and the Sharks fourth, is the first time that the two franchises have come up against each other in a Super Rugby Finals Series match.


Saturday, 4 August, 2012
Chiefs vs Sharks
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand
Kick Off (1935 local, 0735 GMT, 1735 NSW/ACT, 0935 SAT)

REFEREE Steve Walsh
AR Craig Joubert
AR Keith Brown
TMO Garratt Williamson


Played 15: Chiefs 8, Sharks 7
Points aggregate: Chiefs 367, Sharks 375
Tries aggregate: Chiefs 42, Sharks 44

Last match: Sharks 12 – 18 Chiefs @ Mr Price King’s Park, Durban (2012SR, RD9)
Record in Hamilton/Taupo - Played 7, Chiefs 4, Sharks 3
Record in Super Rugby Finals Series – MAIDEN MATCH

Chiefs 2012 Record – Played 16, Won 12,Lost 4
444 PF (4th overall), 358 PA (6th overall), 47 tries (3rd equal overall)

Sharks 2012 Record – Played 16, Won 10, Lost 6
436 PF (5th overall), 348 PA (5th overall), 47 tries (3rd equal)


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.

The 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.


Japan and Honduras make quarter-finals

Japan and Honduras both qualified for the Olympic quarter-finals in the men's Football tournament after fighting out a goalless draw at the City of Coventry Stadium.Japan finished top of the group with seven points from three games and they will take on Egypt in the last eight.

Runners-up Honduras will face a more daunting test against one of the tournament favourites in Brazil.Honduras showed more enterprise and created the best two chances of a low-key opening 45 minutes, but Japan showed more urgency in the second half.But both sides struggled to carve out clearcut opportunities although the goalkeepers were pressed into service at both ends.

Daniel Sturridge nets winner for Great Britain

Great Britain's men followed the women into the Olympic quarter-finals as Daniel Sturridge netted the only goal against Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium.The win has set up a last-eight meeting with the Republic of Korea in Cardiff on Saturday evening.The clock was ticking down towards the interval when Joe Allen wove a neat pattern inside the Uruguay box before drilling the low cross which Sturridge prodded home from close range.Chelsea man Sturridge has now scored two in two games, a fact the watching Roy Hodgson - whose England team take on Italy in a fortnight - cannot help but have noticed.

Meanwhile, Senegal joined GB in the last eight after leading striker Moussa Konate rescued a point against UAE at the City of Coventry Stadium.Konate scored his fourth goal in three Group A matches early in the second half to cancel out Matar Ismaeil's opener.It meant that Senegal finished in second spot on five points - behind GB - and they will face Mexico in the quarter-finals.

NBA star Tony Parker led France

NBA star Tony Parker led France to an ultimately comfortable victory over Lithuania to leave them on the verge of a place in the London 2012 quarter-finals after an 82-74 win.The San Antonio Spurs man scored 27 points as the French pulled away in the second half to earn their second win from three games in Group A.Defeat was a blow for three-time Olympic Games silver medallists Lithuania, but is unlikely to deny them a place in the knockout stage.

It looked at one point, though, as if the Baltic side's progression might be a whole lot easier as they turned a nine-point deficit in the first quarter into a 43-39 lead by half-time, helped by two quick-fire three-pointers from Martynas Pocius.But Parker, wearing distinctive goggles to protect an eye injury, inspired his side to a recovery, finishing with nine field goals, including two three-pointers, and seven free throws.The third quarter was key, France winning it 20-9, as their opponents' accuracy from outside the circle deserted them.Nicolas Batum followed Parker with 21 points and Ronny Turiaf led the way on the rebound count with 10.

Anthony Ogogo beats world champion Khytrov

Anthony Ogogo produced arguably the greatest performance of his career to defeat Ukraine's reigning world champion Ievgen Khytrov via a nail-biting judges' decision to move within one more win of a Boxing medal.Great Britain's Ogogo matched his illustrious opponent in a brutal, action-packed Middle Weight bout which had the capacity ExCeL crowd on their feet, then faced an agonising wait as the final score showed an 18-18 tie between the pair.

Even the countback system - in which the individual scores of all five judges are tallied together - yielded an amazing 52-52 tie, before the judges were required to pick a winner and the majority went with Ogogo.