Sharks’ dealt a suspension blow after Springboks’ injuries hamper Challenge Cup final preparations 

Jared Wright
Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am and Murray Koster's red card.

Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am and Murray Koster's red card.

The Sharks have been dealt another blow ahead of their Challenge Cup final against Gloucester with Murray Koster copping a five-game suspension.

Koster was shown a red card in the latter stages of the Sharks’ 24-25 defeat to Benetton in a Round 16 United Rugby Championship clash in Durban.

The midfielder’s suspension is another blow to the Sharks’ preparations for the final, as the side are dealing with a potential injury crisis.

Murray Koster banned

Koster had come into the starting XV following the late withdrawal of Francois Venter from the matchday squad and the Sharks lost Eben Etzebeth, Vincent Koch and Lukhanyo Am to injuries during the first half.

Referee Mike Adamson red-carded Koster in the 75th minute of the game after a dangerous entry into a ruck.

A URC statement confirmed that he had been banned for five games for contravening Law 9.20 -Dangerous play in a ruck or maul.

A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul. A player must not make contact with an opponent above the line of the shoulders. A player must not intentionally collapse a ruck or maul.

Koster accepted that he committed an act of foul play which warranted a red card with judicial officer Simon Thomas deeming that it warranted the top-end suspension entry point of 10 weeks.

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However, he received five (50%) weeks mitigation due to his good record, timely admission of guilt and apology which results in a five game suspension.

Completing the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Programme can reduce Koster’s suspension by one week, but he will still miss the Challenge Cup final.

Meanwhile, Sharks’ defence coach Joey Mongalo revealed that the injured Springboks won’t be featuring against Cardiff and will travel to the UK early.

“We are trying to give those guys as long as possible to get ready,” Mongalo said.

“The medical team is going over and beyond if they can give everybody the best possible opportunity [to be fit and available].”

READ MORE: United Rugby Championship Ins and outs: The complete list of the 2024/25 player transfers

Fixtures for Murray Koster’s ban

Hollywoodbets Sharks v Cardiff Rugby, 18 May 2024, BKT URC
Gloucester Rugby v Hollywoodbets Sharks, 24 May 2024, EPCR Challenge Cup Final
Hollywoodbets Sharks v Vodacom Bulls, 1 June 2024, BKT URC
College Rovers v Crusaders, 14 June 2024
College Rovers v Richards Bay, 22 June 2024