Sharks Challenge Cup

The Sharks will have a shot at history when they face Gloucester on Friday. Photo: X

LIVE SCORING | Sharks v Gloucester: Challenge Cup final

Keep track of the live scoring as the Sharks aim to clinch a historic victory over Gloucester in the Challenge Cup final on Friday night.

Sharks Challenge Cup

The Sharks will have a shot at history when they face Gloucester on Friday. Photo: X

The Sharks can not only become the first South African team to win the Challenge Cup title when they tackle Gloucester in London, but they can also secure a coveted Champions Cup qualification berth for next season.

Date: Friday, 24 May
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
SA Time: 21h00
Referee: Matthieu Raynal
TV: SuperSport

You can follow the live scoring of the Sharks in the Challenge Cup final below:

John Plumtree’s team have impressed in the Challenge Cup competition after a disappointing URC season, and head coach John Plumtree has emphasised the importance of the role of the senior players to drive the team’s emotional state of readiness.  

“We’ve kept things simple this week, I’m not a big fan of overloading the players with too much information before big games,” he explains. “We’ve identified a couple of areas where we can put them under pressure and where they will look to pressure us, that’s been the focus.

“All the plans have been put in place and now it’s all about excitement for the final. The players are getting into their own space and making sure they bring the intensity that’s required.

“Up until this point it’s been around how we want to play our game, and you can see how the experienced guys, guys who have been in this position many times before, are starting to shine. The leaders are taking over in the backend of the week and my voice goes quieter while theirs’ go louder.

“That’s what we want, we are encouraging our leaders how have been in this position before to take over and really drive the passion we’re going to need to win this final.

“The tactical approach to the game is important, but it’s how hard you hit a ruck, tackle or carry the ball and how long you can go for, that’s driven by some characters in the team.”

The role of the senior leadership cannot be understated and Plumtree expects them to be the match that lights the fire under the rest of their team-mates.

“I’m expecting it to be a very physical contest. It’s not a test match but for us as the Sharks, it is a test match. It’s exciting for everyone and means a lot to everyone, those who wear the Springbok jersey and those who don’t. I’m expecting to see my big players that I’ve got in this group really have massive games.””

Some injury issues for the coastal team

Plumtree has largely stuck with the team that defeated Clermont in the semi-final, although injuries to Jaden Hendrikse and Lukhanyo Am have forced the Springbok duo out of the game.

In the only changes to the starting XV, Gerbrandt Grobler comes in for Emile van Heerden at lock, and Francois Venter moves into the inside centre position with Ethan Hooker replacing Lukhanyo Am.

Dylan Richardson and Eduan Keyter both impressed in the last match against Cardiff and have been rewarded with a place in the matchday 23.

Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Ethan Hooker, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Siya Masuku, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Lappies Labuschagne, 20 Dylan Richardson, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Eduan Keyter.