CRAIG Clarke’s knee has passed a fitness test, allowing the Chiefs‘ captain to take his place in the side that will contest the Super Rugby final against the Sharks this weekend.
He was injured in last weekend’s semifinal win over the Crusaders, but he convinced the Chiefs’ medical staff he was fit to lead his side into the final in Hamilton.
It has allowed coach Dave Rennie to retain the same team that beat the seven-time champion Crusaders.
It will be centre Sonny Bill Williams’ last Super 15 match before heading to Japan.
Try-scoring prop Sona Taumalolo has been retained, as has young tighthead Ben Tameifuna and hooker Mahonri Schwalger, Fairfax NZ reported.
All Black flanker Sam Cane has once again been relegated to the reserves by Tanerau Latimer.
Four current or former All Blacks have been named on the reserves bench: hooker Hika Elliot, Cane, halfback Brendon Leonard and winger Lelia Masaga.
First-five Aaron Cruden will oppose his young Springboks counterpart Patrick Lambie after outplaying his All Blacks’ teammate Dan Carter last weekend.
Lambie has overcome an injury and was expected to be named in the Sharks’ lineup.
Chiefs: Robbie Robinson, Tim Nanai-Williams, Andrew Horrell, Sonny Bill Williams, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Kane Thompson, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke (captain), Ben Tameifuna, Mahonri Schwalger, Sona Taumalolo Reserves: Hika Elliot, Ben Afeaki, Michael Fitzgerald, Sam Cane, Brendon Leonard, Jackson Willison, Lelia Masaga