The Durbanites – who have never played against Gloucester before in the EPCR Challenge Cup – have been in fine form in the European showpiece, with their track record showing six wins in seven matches, including a 36-30 victory against Edinburgh in the quarter-final and a 32-31 win against Clermont Auvergne in the semi-final. Adding to this, they finished the pool stages as the top-ranked side on their table.


However, the Hollywoodbets Sharks are in for a big challenge against Gloucester, who are unbeaten in the competition. They come off comfortable victories against the Ospreys and Benetton in their quarter-final and semi-final respectively, as well as a morale-boosting 54-14 victory over Newcastle in the Gallagher Premiership last weekend.

Both teams have struggled to make their presence felt in their main competitions this season, with the Hollywoodbets Sharks having won only four of their 17 Vodacom United Rugby Championship matches – where they suffered a disappointing 36-14 defeat against Cardiff in their last outing – while Gloucester are in second-last position on the log having won only five out of 18 in the Gallagher Premiership. This will undoubtedly motivate both sides immensely on Friday.

The KwaZulu-Natalians – who will be without their injured skipper, Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am, as well as Bok scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse – will draw inspiration from the fact that they have been superior on attack over Gloucester, with 256 points scored with an average of 4.7 tries per game, to Gloucester’s 192 (average 2.6 tries per game).

Led by Springbok speedster Makazole Mapimpi, whose five tries this season places him joint-second on the try-scorers list behind Benetton’s Onisi Ratave with six, the Hollywoodbets Sharks have scored the most tries of any team this season.

However, the English side – who tops the league with 51 turnovers won – have been marginally better on defence, having conceded 113 points to the Hollywoodbets Sharks’ 117 conceded, but with this being the grand final both teams will enter the match with the mindset that history will mean nothing as look to take honours.

The EPCR Challenge Cup final will be followed at the same venue by the Investec Champions Cup final on Saturday between Leinster and Stade Toulousain at 15h45.

In the event that the scores are tied at the end of regulation time, extra time protocols will apply.

EPCR Challenge Cup Final – Gloucester v Hollywoodbets Sharks
Date: Friday, 24 May
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
SA Time: 21h00
Referee: Matthieu Raynal
TV: SuperSport