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History Beckons For The Sharks In London

  • May 24, 2024
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History Beckons For The Sharks In London

The Hollywoodbets Sharks head into the EPCR Challenge Cup final brimming with motivation, a chance to etch their name in history as the first South African team to claim the title.

The clash against Gloucester at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Friday night promises to be a thrilling encounter.

The Durban-based Sharks boast an impressive European campaign, winning six out of seven matches. They secured a convincing 36-30 victory over Edinburgh in the quarter-final and a narrow 32-31 win against Clermont Auvergne in the semi-final. Furthermore, they topped their pool stage table.

However, Gloucester presents a formidable challenge. They are undefeated in the competition, boasting comfortable victories against Ospreys and Benetton in the knockout stages. Additionally, they secured a morale-boosting 54-14 Gallagher Premiership win over Newcastle last weekend.

Both teams haven’t fared well in their domestic leagues. The Sharks managed only four wins in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, with a disappointing 36-14 defeat against Cardiff in their last outing. Similarly, Gloucester sits second-last in the Gallagher Premiership with just five wins from 18 matches. This shared struggle could fuel an extra dose of motivation for both sides on Friday.

While missing injured captain Lukhanyo Am and scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, the Sharks boast a superior attacking force. They’ve amassed 256 points with an impressive average of 4.7 tries per game, compared to Gloucester’s 192 and 2.6 tries per game. Led by Springbok speedster Makazole Mapimpi (joint-second on the try-scorers list with five tries), the Sharks have been the most prolific try-scorers in the competition.

However, Gloucester boasts a slightly better defensive record, conceding 113 points compared to the Sharks’ 117. Despite this, both teams will undoubtedly enter the final with a single-minded focus on creating history.

The EPCR Challenge Cup final will be followed by the Investec Champions Cup final between Leinster and Stade Toulousain at the same venue on Saturday at 15:45.

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