Sharks Challenge Cup

Sharks are to face Gloucester in the Challenge Cup final. Image: SA Rugby website

What time does the Sharks’ Challenge Cup final kick off?

The Sharks have a shot at securing a season-defining victory when they tackle Gloucester in the Challenge Cup final on Friday night.

Sharks Challenge Cup

Sharks are to face Gloucester in the Challenge Cup final. Image: SA Rugby website

The Sharks will be aiming to become the first South African team to win the Challenge Cup title when they face Gloucester at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Friday night.

John Plumtree’s team have impressed in this competition after a disappointing URC season. However, the Durbanites are in for a big challenge against Gloucester, who are unbeaten in the competition.

If the Sharks can emerge victorious, it will importantly ensure that the Durbanites qualify for next season’s high-profile Champions Cup.

EPCR Challenge Cup Final – Gloucester v Sharks

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

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.

“The mood in the camp is pretty good, everyone is focussed,” explains Sharks loosehead prop Ox Nche, who will be playing his 50th international competition game for the Sharks. “It’s a big game for us all, everyone is in tune and excited; we just want to give it our all.

“Keeping players calm and everyone focussed on what they need to do and how they can help the team; that’s our biggest task at the moment.”

The Sharks prop added that this game is tantamount to a Rugby World Cup playoff in many respects.

“This is a serious game, it means a lot to us, it’s something we haven’t done as a union and it’s going to be as big a challenge for us.    

“We’re approaching it the same way: the intensity is the same because we could be the first South African team to win a European title.

“It would be an amazing reward if we did it!”

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.