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Challenge Cup Final: By the numbers

SPOTLIGHT: Gloucester and the Sharks are gearing up for their Challenge Cup Final face-off on Friday.


Both teams are not just eager to win Friday’s match to earn some silverware, but also to secure themselves a spot in the Champions Cup next season at the expense of the eighth-placed team in their domestic leagues.

It has been a long season for both teams, who have made the Challenge Cup Final a priority from the start.

Gloucester are looking to win a record-equaling third Challenge Cup title, while Sharks have already made history by becoming the first South African team to reach a competition Final.

The Durban team are looking to go one step further however and become the first team from their nation to lift a trophy just two seasons on from South African sides joining the competitions.

Final by the numbers

* There’s an added incentive for Friday evening’s two finalists as the winner will be guaranteed a place in the 2024/25 Champions Cup. Neither Gloucester nor the Sharks can qualify by virtue of their league positions, so whoever lifts the trophy will take the place of the eighth-ranked team in their league in next season’s elite tournament.

* By qualifying for the Final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Gloucester will equal Toulon’s record of five appearances in the tournament’s deciding match.

* If the Sharks claim the silverware they will become the first South African team to win a title.


* Gloucester are two-time tournament winners (2006 and 2015) and they have also experienced the disappointment of defeat in two finals (2017 and 2018). If they triumph at Tottenham, they will join ASM Clermont Auvergne and Harlequins on three wins.

* If the Sharks lift the trophy, they will become the 19th to have won the Challenge Cup.

* Gloucester captain, Lewis Ludlow, leads this season’s tournament tackling statistics with 78.

* Two-time Champions Cup winner with Saracens, Vincent Koch, as well as Eben Etzebeth, who was part of the Toulon Challenge Cup side which was defeated by Lyon in Marseille in 2022, are the only members of the Sharks squad to have experienced a Final.


* If selected in Gloucester’s 23, Jonny May will be the only Challenge Cup winner in the Premiership team’s line up having tasted success in 2015 when the West country team defeated Edinburgh at the Twickenham Stoop.

* Of the current Gloucester squad, Freddie Clarke, Ludlow and May played in the losing 2017 Final against Stade Francais Paris at Murrayfield, while Ruan Ackermann, Fraser Balmain, Val Rapava Ruskin and Ludlow all featured in the 30-31 loss to Cardiff in the 2018 decider in Bilbao.

* The Sharks second row, Gerbrandt Grobler, who played for Gloucester between 2018 and 2020, could end up facing some of his former teammates on Friday.

* Gloucester’s highly influential No.8, Zach Mercer, is the tournament’s top carrier to date with 109.

Source: @ChallengeCup_

Challenge Cup road to the Final


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