Super XV Final 2012:
Fans across New Zealand have snapped up 25100 tickets to the Super Rugby final between the Chiefs and the Sharks at Waikato Stadium this Saturday. Chiefs' supporters were desperate to secure tickets to the Chiefs v Sharks match and were queuing outside Waikato Stadium since 2am this morning. Tickets to the general public went on sale at 8am this morning and were sold out in less than two hours. Sean Austin, Chiefs Commercial Manager said "We are delighted our fans wanted to be part of our first Super Rugby final and are sorry that we could not meet the huge demand." Chiefs’ season members and sponsors snapped up 8000 tickets in the last two days during their early purchase window.
The Sharks are the most successful Super Rugby franchise never to have won the title, with this their fourth Super Rugby Final. This season might not have begun according to plan, but the sixth placed South African wildcard qualifying side is building up an impressive head of steam. Back-to-back losses to start their season were not an ideal way to commence a campaign, and while those defeats might have been away from Durban, the Sharks have, in recent years, lived in the shadow of the Bulls (courtesy of their three titles) and the Stormers (two-time South African Conference champions), after being the best performer early in the tournament’s history.
It was not until 2007 that another South African team reached a Super Rugby Final, and the Bulls had to overcome the Sharks – then in their third such fixture – to claim their first crown, a title that many in Durban felt was so close they could touch it. With a squad that features 16 capped Springboks, and one Les Bleus representative in the form of Fred Michalak, the Sharks group’s strength is further accentuated when considering that the French maestro competes with South African golden boy Pat Lambie for a starting berth. As the 2012 season progressed hopes for the Sharks didn’t exactly firm, with their 18-12 loss to this weekend’s opponents the Chiefs back in round nine being the South African’s fifth loss in their opening nine matches.
The Chiefs have announced their team to take on the Sharks in the Super Rugby final this Saturday night at Waikato Stadium, with coach Dave Rennie opting for consistency and naming an unchanged side. Rennie has opted to stick with the same side that overcame the Crusaders 20-17 in last weekend's semi-final in Hamilton. Co-captain Craig Clarke was able to overcome an injury scare and will once again lead his charges on Saturday evening. The game will no doubt provide a healthy dose of entertainment and both sides will look forward to playing in front of the sell-out Waikato crowd.
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