allblacks.com 04.Aug.2012Getty Images
OFF THE PADDOCK
Fanatical fans: They queued from 2:00am in Hamilton in the morning to snap up the last of the 25,100 tickets to Saturday night’s mega Investec Super Rugby Final showdown. The sell-out is the exclamation mark to a remarkable Chiefs season with the franchise recording a 97 per cent increase in their season ticket sales. Gates open from 5:50pm and match-goers are urged to get to the game early. For more information on how to get to get to Waikato Stadium without hassle, click here.
Da Chiefs’ Kause: Proud Matamata-grown hip hop group and internet sensation Da Kause have put together another original piece – this time a tribute to the Chiefs and their bid for 2012 Championship honours. The song is called "Spirit of a Champion" and features Da Kause brothers Hamuera "Humz" and Lennie Brooky and Joel Fallon in Chiefs shirts busting out a rhymes in rap paying homage the individual skills of each player and all done to a catchy beat and tune. Check out Spirit of a Champion by clicking here.
Historic hosting: It’s the first time the Chiefs have ever hosted a Super Rugby Final – the last time a New Zealand team hosted a Final was in 2008 when the Crusaders beat the Waratahs 20 – 12. The Chiefs’ last shot at a title was in 2009 against the Bulls in South Africa, with the hosts winning 61 – 17. For the record the Super Rugby champions’ honours list reads like this: 2011 Reds, 2010 Bulls, 2009 Bulls, 2008 Crusaders, 2007 Bulls, 2006 Crusaders, 2005 Crusaders, 2004 Brumbies, 2003 Blues, 2002 Crusaders, 2001 Brumbies, 2000 Crusaders, 1999 Crusaders, 1998 Crusaders, 1997 Blues, 1996 Blues.
Deciding the decider: So if the teams are tied on points at full time in the Final, here are the match deciders that take effect (in this order): 1) Extra time of two 10-minute halves with a two-minute halftime; 2) Sudden death played for up to 10 minutes with the first team scoring declared the winner; and 3) kicking competition.
If you want to know more details check out SANZAR’s website sanzarrugby.com
FOR THE RECORD
Duuun dun duuun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun: In 1998, the Coastal Sharks joined Super Rugby and since 1999, the team has been known as The Sharks. Since 1998 the Chiefs and The Sharks have played 15 matches, with the Chiefs winning eight to The Sharks’ seven. The Sharks are a nose ahead on points though, with 376 (25.1 per game) to the Chiefs’ 367 (24.5). When they met earlier this season, it was the Chiefs who came out the victors in Durban with an 18-12 victory.
Be water wise: The Chiefs have a better record against The Sharks in Hamilton than they do away: of the six matches played in Hamilton, the Chiefs have won four (66.6 per cent) compared to four wins from seven matches in Durban (57.1 per cent) and losses in Taupo and Port Elizabeth.
Chiefs in the anti-Natal unit: For the first two years of Super Rugby, it was the Natal Sharks that competed. The Chiefs lost on both occasions that they played Natal, going down 63-25 in 1996 in Durban and then 33-15 in Albany the following year.
The Final Countdown: There’ll be a new Super Rugby champion crowned on Saturday night. The Sharks have played in three Super Rugby Finals – 1996 (Blues), 2001 (Brumbies) and 2007 (Bulls). They haven’t won any of them. The Chiefs have made just one appearance in a Final, which they lost to the Bulls in 2009. The Chiefs scored 17 points and conceded 61, while The Sharks have scored an average of 15.3 (46 in total) and conceded 33.7 (101 from three).
Kids with the pumped up kicks: Aaron Cruden is the fifth New Zealander to top the Super Rugby points scorers table for the season. Andrew Mehrtens and Dan Carter each did it three times, while Carlos Spencer and Stephen Donald are also in the record books. Four Australians, including last year’s top points scorer, Quade Cooper have achieved the feat (but none more than once) while three South Africans have earned the top spot, with Morne Steyn doing it twice. Of those 12 men, Steyn has the best season average – 18.8 per game in 2010.
Steyn Remover: Aaron Cruden’s tally of 234 is already the most scored by a New Zealander and the secondbest ever behind Morne Steyn’s record of 263 set in 2010. With an average so far of 13.8 per game so far this season AC will have to pull out something special to take down the Bulls’ superboot and if he does he’ll set another record in the process: the current record for points by an individual in a Final is 22, set by the Brumbies’ Joe Roff against the Crusaders in 2004.