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Experienced Lock Etzebeth To Lead Sharks In European Challenge Cup Final

  • May 23, 2024
  • 2 min read
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Experienced Lock Etzebeth To Lead Sharks In European Challenge Cup Final

The Hollywoodbets Sharks head coach John Plumtree has selected a powerful team, largely unchanged from the semi-final victory over Clermont.

However, injuries to Springboks Jaden Hendrikse and Lukhanyo Am necessitate some adjustments.

The Sharks are poised to make history as they take on Gloucester in the highly anticipated EPCR Challenge Cup Final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Friday night (21:00).

Gerbrandt Grobler replaces Emile van Heerden at lock, while Francois Venter shifts to inside center alongside Ethan Hooker, who steps in for Am. Impressive performances against Cardiff have earned Dylan Richardson and Eduan Keyter spots on the matchday squad.

This season culminates in this dramatic showdown, a fitting conclusion to the EPCR Challenge Cup.

“The team spirit is excellent, everyone’s laser-focused,” says Sharks loosehead prop Ox Nche, on the verge of his 50th international appearance for the Sharks. “It’s a massive game for all of us. We’re dialed in and excited; we just want to give it our all.”

Nche acknowledges the importance of staying composed and avoiding being swept away by the occasion. Here, the team’s seasoned veterans will play a critical role.

“Keeping everyone calm and focused on their individual responsibilities and how they can contribute to the team is our top priority right now,” he explains.

Nche compares the significance of this match to a Rugby World Cup Final.

“This is a serious game, a huge opportunity for us. It’s a first for our union, and it will be a significant challenge. We’re approaching it with the same intensity – the stakes are just as high. We have the chance to be the first South African team to win a European title. That would be an incredible achievement!”

Sharks Starting Lineup:

  1. Ox Nche*
  2. Bongi Mbonambi
  3. Vincent Koch
  4. Eben Etzebeth (Captain)
  5. Gerbrandt Grobler
  6. James Venter
  7. Vincent Tshituka
  8. Phepsi Buthelezi
  9. Grant Williams
  10. Siya Masuku
  11. Makazole Mapimpi
  12. Francois Venter
  13. Ethan Hooker
  14. Werner Kok
  15. Aphelele Fassi

Replacements:

  1. Fez Mbatha
  2. Ntuthuko Mchunu
  3. Hanro Jacobs
  4. Lappies Labuschagne
  5. Dylan Richardson
  6. Cameron Wright
  7. Curwin Bosch
  8. Eduan Keyter
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