First waltz has Clarke weak at the knees

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2013
clarke stand
EMMA FLEMING/FLASH FOCUS
Taranaki rugby captain Craig Clarke walks down the aisle with his bride Veree (nee Cleaver).

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While Taranaki rugby captain Craig Clarke has a proven side-step on the field but it was his dance steps causing concern during the weekend.

The 69-game veteran married his long-time girlfriend, Veree Cleaver, the sister of former Taranaki and Hurricanes prop Shane, in a ceremony at the Bungalow in Pitone Rd, near Okato, on Saturday.

Speaking to the Taranaki Daily News before the big day, Clarke, a battle-hardened lock, admitted to being a bit wary about the first waltz.

"I'd say trying to dance in front of 150 people is probably a bit more daunting. That's the thing that I'm most nervous about," he said.

"We've been doing our own training for that."

Clarke, who was given time off from the Chiefs' pre-season training, said he was looking forward to the wedding.

"We are pretty excited about it actually, after it being on the horizon for so long. Veree's done a lot of work for it and her family has done a lot of work for it, so we're excited that it's finally here."

The couple met almost six years ago at the Southern Rugby Club rooms and hit it off at Michael Bent's 21st.

"We just got talking on the dance floor," Clarke said.

His best man was Jarrad Hoeata and groomsman was Mark Murdoch, of Christchurch, while Veree's bridesmaids were her sister Racquel Cleaver and Rachal Rowe.

Past and present team-mates were among the crowd of well-wishers. "Yeah, there will be a few footy lads - a scattering from the Naki and a scattering from the Chiefs," Clarke said.

With Super Rugby pre-season matches kicking off this weekend, it didn't leave the couple much time for a honeymoon, but they were prepared. "We planned all along that we knew that we wouldn't get much time to do it so in the rugby break in November we went across to the Sunshine Coast in Aussie and we knew that would be a pre-wedding honeymoon," Clarke said.

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