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Final could be the greatest of them all

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Sportal.co.nz     01 Aug 2012     Getty Images

That's the view of former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer.

Dwyer said the Sharks had momentum and it was possible that commodity could offset the burden of another long haul flight to be in Hamilton.

"Hardship can harden the resolve and these Yappies are seriously tough hombres," Dwyer said on his website bobdwyerrugby.com.

Two key players in the Sharks backline would be Frenchman Freddy Michalak and centre JP Pietersen.

Both were in the best form of their careers, he said.

Of Michalak, he said: "He has never played better and, I figure, has developed even more under the disciplined, never-say-die, attitude of his new home. He may yet have a lot more to offer the French national team."

And of Pietersen, he said: "He would not be out of place at centre for the Springboks and they have a few wingers – they have a few centres also."

The Sharks front row would also be an advantage to them.

"The Sharks' game has nowhere near the same speed – in terms of ball use and movement – as that of the Chiefs, but they will impose their own game, whenever they can, and their huge physicality can carry this slower approach. They also have a bench that can make a significant contribution – and they'll need it," Dwyer said.

The Chiefs scrum had stood up to the Crusaders and nullified what had been a powerful asset for them.

"The Chiefs played the game at an almost frantic pace, in both attack and 'off the linne' defence and this, together with their clearly 'no-nonsense' attitude in the contact zones, appeared to unsettle the Crusaders.

"I loved the physicality of the contest...and the speed of recycle and use of the ball. The dreaded 'pod system' was nowhere to be seen – praise the Lord – and urgency of realignment meant that defences were always stretched.

"[Aaron] Cruden has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. He is now a mature player with great innate skills. His uncanny footwork is a great foil for the more direct, but equally talented style of both SBW [Sonny Bill Williams] and [Tawera] Kerr-Barlow, on either side of him. Add [Brodie] Retallick, [Liam,] Messam and [Robbie] Robinson and, at home, the Chiefs could go one better in their second Super Rugby final, " he said.