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Captain's armband goes to Bok lock for Final

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Eben Etzebeth will wear the captain’s armband for the Challenge Cup Final against Gloucester at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Friday.

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Despite injuries forcing regular captain Lukhanhyo Am and Jaden Hendrikse out of contention, Head Coach John Plumtree has stuck with the team that defeated Clermont in the semifinal.

The injury to captain and double World Cup winner Lukhanyo Am, who will be out for the rest of the season, is a huge blow to the Durbanites.

The only good news is that Am is expected to recover in time for South Africa’s two-Test series against Six Nations champions Ireland in July.

The starting line-up shows three changes with Gerbrandt Grobler coming in for Emile van Heerden at lock and Francois Venter taking over at 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 this historic clash.

Another Springbok, Ox Nche, will run out in his 50th appearance for the Sharks in this memorable game.

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Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Ethan Hooker, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Siya Masuku, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Nthuthuko Mchuni, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Lappies Labuschagne, 20 Dylan Richardson, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Eduan Keyter

Date: Friday, May 24
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
Kick-off: 20.00 (21.00 SA time; 19.00 GMT)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

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