Chiefs happy to have Clarke in second row

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James Mortimer     03 Aug 2012     Getty Images

After all, the one time of late that the Chiefs looked vulnerable was when the Crusaders went after their set piece late during the regular season, and Clarke's absence led to a near complete malfunctioning of the New Zealand Conference champion's lineout.

Clarke, who could be something of an All Blacks bolter when coach Steve Hansen adds Chiefs to his squad, has been one of the form locks of the season - and with the World Champions suffering something of a shortage of tall timber, Clarke's form and potential tag of Super Rugby winning captain could make his name too hard to ignore.

The big lock strained a medial ligament in his right knee during the Chiefs Semi-Final win over the Crusaders, and coach Dave Rennie was happy for the team that their leader had been named.

"It was a real boost for the boys knowing that their skipper is going to be on the track," Rennie said.
"We tested him this morning and he came through really well so we kept him out of the session this afternoon, it was a reasonably physical one, so he should be right to take part in the captain's run tomorrow and take the field on Saturday."

Rennie, a firm believer in the entire squad contributing, said that despite it being the last match of a long season, was able to call on all of his players - with a certain All Blacks centre the only notable absence.

"Other than say Richard Kahui we have got what we believe are our form players out on the track so it's really pleasing," Rennie said.

"They're in a good frame of mind and everyone's jumping out of their skin to be part of it so it's exciting and we didn't feel we needed to make any changes."