Etzebeth to lead the Sharks in Challenge Cup final

Etzebeth to lead the Sharks in Challenge Cup final

Eben Etzebeth will lead a strong Hollywoodbets Sharks team named to take on Gloucester in Friday night’s EPCR Challenge Cup Final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

On this historic occasion, Hollywoodbets Sharks head coach John Plumtree has stuck with the team that defeated Clermont in the semi-final, with injuries to Jaden Hendrikse and Lukhanyo Am forcing 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 season has built up to this climactic finale and what a way to close out the EPCR Challenge Cup.

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

Nche admits that of vital importance is staying focussed and not being overwhelmed by the occasion. This is where the senior, experienced members of the team have a huge role to play.

“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 Hollywoodbets Sharks prop explains that this game is tantamount to a Rugby World Cup Final 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!”

Hollywoodbets Sharks

  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


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

*Denotes 50th international competition game for the Hollywoodbets Sharks

Players not considered for selection due to injury

  • Boeta Chamberlain
  • Coenie Oosthuizen
  • Emile van Heerden
  • George Cronje
  • Jaden Hendrikse
  • Lukhanyo Am
  • Marnus Potgieter
  • Muller du Plessis
  • Nevaldo Fleurs
  • Zee Mkhabela

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