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Sharks' Euro success: The numbers that matter

SPOTLIGHT: History will reflect that the Sharks are the first South African franchise to win on one of Europe’s main stages – the Challenge Cup.


Their 36-22 demolition of Gloucester at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium showed the potential of a team that has managed just four wins in 17 starts in their ‘domestic’ (read United Rugby Championship) campaign.

Whatever the underlying reasons for their horror run in the URC – and those are well documented – becoming the first SA team to claim a European Professional Club Rugby title will silence even their most ardent critics for a while.

Most pundits ascribed the win in London – their first in an international Final after four Super Rugby runners-up medals – to the number of World Cup-winning Springboks.

Makazole Mapimpi, Grant Williams, Eben Etzebeth, Vincent Koch, Bongi Mbonambi and Ox Nche played massive roles.

However, unpacking the post-match stats revealed that non-Springboks also played significant roles – if not more.

(Continue below …)

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Let’s start with the one World Cup-winning Bok that produced significant stats.


Six of scrumhalf Grant Williams’ kicks were retained against Gloucester.

No player has had so many kicks retained in a match this season.

Flyhalf Siya Masuku further enhanced his burgeoning reputation by scoring 21 of the Sharks’ 36 points in the Final.

He also made two try assists.


No.8 Phepsi Buthelezi beat more defenders than any other player (four) and scored a try.

Flank James Venter made four dominant tackles in the Final.

No other player made more than one.


* Additional reporting by @ChallengeCup_



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