Chiefs sink sorry Sharks
New Zealand team bury the ghost of their harrowing 2009 final loss
Last Updated: 04/08/12 12:58pm
Waikato Chiefs thrashed the Sharks 37-6 to be crowned Super Rugby champions for the first time in the franchise's history.
On a wet night in Hamilton the Chiefs proved far too strong for their South African opponents, running in four tries without reply to bury the ghost of their 61-17 final defeat to the Bulls back in 2009.
Sonny Bill Williams marked his final game for the team by touching down in the second half and fly-half Aaron Cruden kicked 17 points.
Tim Nanai-Williams, Kane Thompson and Lelia Masaga also crossed for the Chiefs and all the Sharks could muster in reply were a pair of penalties from Frederic Michalak.
The Sharks enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges but the only reward for their early domination was a sole three-pointer by Michalak.
The Chiefs, however, began to work their way back into the game and continued to grow in confidence as the match progressed.
The first try came from a Bill Williams break that led to Nanai-Williams scoring out wide after the Chiefs recovered a Cruden chip kick.
The No.10 followed up his assist by landing the conversion and then stretched the advantage even further with two penalties, putting the Chiefs 13-3 ahead at half-time.
Hooker Mahonri Schwalger then put his side in command right at the start of the second half when the Samoan international stole the kick off from the Sharks forwards.
The Chiefs' second try came when back-rower Thompson picked up the ball at the back of an attacking scrum and ran through a gaping hole in the Sharks' defence to score.
Replacement wing Masaga put the match out of reach with 20 minutes to go when he collected a misdirected pass and neatly sidestepped Patrick Lambie, allowing him to 50 metres to the line.
Cruden added the extras and then struck a further penalty before Sonny Bill Williams, celebrated his final match for the Chiefs with a try in the closing minutes to close out the match.