The Sharks win the Challenge Cup. Image via
@SharksRugby on X

Etzebeth: ‘At club level this is by far the best memory’

Hollywoodbets Sharks make history as first South African team to win EPCR Challenge Cup. Etzebeth hails victory as greatest club highlight.


The Sharks win the Challenge Cup. Image via
@SharksRugby on X

Eben Etzebeth, the captain of the Hollywoodbets Sharks, has described his team’s resounding 36-22 victory over Gloucester in the EPCR Challenge Cup final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London as his greatest club highlight.

The Sharks made history by becoming the first South African franchise to win the European title, securing their spot in next season’s Investec Champions Cup.

The double Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok lock praised his team’s character, citing their disappointing Vodacom United Rugby Championship season as a significant driving force behind their success.

“The motivation (to win) was more within the team,” said Etzebeth. “To turn things around the way we did after where we were four or five months ago, was fantastic.”

A Dominant Performance Seals Victory

The Sharks’ defence was put to the test early in the match, but they absorbed the pressure admirably, taking control of the game with complete dominance in the scrums and fantastic enterprise on attack.

Etzebeth emphasised the importance of the victory, stating, “This is the first international trophy the Sharks have won and to become the first South African to win in Europe is definitely one of my best memories ever.”

Head coach John Plumtree shed light on the Sharks’ game plan, revealing their focus on applying pressure up-front to neutralise Gloucester’s strength.

“I thought the scrum was outstanding, and the front row’s drive was very good, and they earned the rewards for it. So was the pressure game from our kicking game,” Plumtree explained.

Sharks’ Motivation to Finish Season on High Note

The Hollywoodbets Sharks have one remaining game in the current season against the Vodacom Bulls in the Vodacom URC next Saturday.

Despite playing purely for pride, this historic victory will undoubtedly motivate them to conclude their season on another high note.

Etzebeth, who last won a club-level championship with the Currie Cup in 2012, emphasised the significance of this achievement. “At club level this is by far the best memory. The last championship I won (at club level) was the Currie Cup in 2012, so it’s been 12 years,” he said.

The Sharks’ triumphant performance in the EPCR Challenge Cup final showcased their resilience and determination to overcome a challenging season.

As they look ahead to their final match and the prospect of competing in the Investec Champions Cup next season, the Hollywoodbets Sharks can take immense pride in their historic accomplishment and the character they displayed on the European stage.