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Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am out of Challenge Cup final

Springboks and Sharks star centre Lukhanyo Am will miss this weekend’s Challenge Cup final against Gloucester through injury. 

The centre picked up a shoulder injury in the Sharks URC defeat to Benetton two weeks ago, and Director of Rugby Neil Powell has confirmed he will not feature at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Speaking to the media today, Powell said: “He’s going to be out for a while. I’m not sure the extent of his injury, he’s got a shoulder injury that he’s struggling with and I think there’s a fractured rib as well. I think it’s probably the end of the URC and EPCR campaign for him.”

The loss of Lukhanyo Am is a huge blow to the Sharks backline. Not only is he the captain, but he also adds a wealth of quality and experience to his side.

“It’s always a big loss when you lose one of your international players and also your captain,” Powell continued. “I think Lukhanyo has been really good for us this season; and you want your senior, your more experienced players to be available for selection. It is a bit of a big loss for us.”

With Am now out of the picture and Ethan Hooker also an injury doubt, Eduan Keyter will likely start in midfield again this weekend. The utility back returned from an ACL injury earlier this season, and has gone onto make 5 appearances so far this season. Diego Appollis could also be an option too, as he deputised in the 13 shirt last weekend against Cardiff.

Powell will also be without scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse, but he will be able to call upon legendary lock Eben Etzebeth again this weekend after his return from injury.

EPCR Challenge Cup final

Credit: IMAGO

Gloucester Rugby vs The Sharks

Date: Friday 24 May

Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Kick-off: 8:00pm