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Etzebeth Calls Challenge Cup Win Biggest Club Highlight

  • May 25, 2024
  • 2 min read
Etzebeth Calls Challenge Cup Win Biggest Club Highlight

Hollywoodbets Sharks captain Eben Etzebeth hailed his team’s convincing victory over Gloucester in the EPCR Challenge Cup final as his greatest club achievement.

He lauded his teammates’ character for making history as the first South African franchise to win the European title.

The dominant 36-22 victory, securing a spot in next season’s Investec Champions Cup, came after a disappointing Vodacom United Rugby Championship season. The double World Cup-winning Springbok lock said this was a significant motivator for the team.

“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. There was a big drive to win the Challenge Cup as a silver lining to our season, which hasn’t been great.

“If you told us at the start of the season that we would win the EPCR Challenge Cup and qualify for the Investec Champions Cup, we would have taken it.

“The victory was special, and it felt as though we left our best performance for last. The guys were just incredible, and the physicality was great.”

Etzebeth emphasized the win’s significance: “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.

“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.”

Sharks coach John Plumtree explained their game plan: “We wanted to apply a lot of pressure up-front because we knew it would probably be their strength, so by taking that away, we knew we would have a good chance.

“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.

“A lot of it was based around scoreboard pressure, which we had to keep building on, and credit to the guys for sticking to the plan.”

The Sharks have one remaining game against the Bulls in the Vodacom URC next Saturday. This victory will undoubtedly motivate them to finish the season strong, even if it’s just for pride.

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