"So Close, Yet So Far" Top 5 Teams With The WORST Records in Cup Finals - Ruck

“So Close, Yet So Far” Top 5 Teams With The WORST Records in Cup Finals

Always the bridesmaid, and never the bride. There are a select few teams throughout rugby history that have made an unfortunate habit out of falling at the final hurdle.

These teams have certainly come close to winning the illusive silverware on multiple occasions, but more often than not they have come away with the unwanted silver medals. These medals will not be found in any trophy room or club museum, as these sides try and move on from repeated defeats in the all-important finals.

London Irish look dejected after losing the Premiership Rugby Cup Final match between London Irish and Exeter Chiefs at The Gtech Community Stadium, London on 19 March 2023 (Photo: Danny Loo/PPAUK)

This list will count down the teams that have the worst performance ratio when it comes to cup finals. So, sides like eleven-time Premiership champions Leicester Tigers will not be considered, despite the Tigers having an additional seven Premiership runners-up medals. We will also only be counting out-and-out single match cup finals, so two-legged finals will not be included.

What rugby club or nation has performed the worst in cup finals? Here is RUCK’s rundown.

1. Cell C Sharks (4x Runners-Up / 0 Finals Victories)

It’s staggering to think that a brand as instantly recognisable as the Sharks, have never lifted a major rugby title in the professional era. Today going by the sponsored tongue-twisting name of the Cell C Sharks, the Durban side take part in the United Rugby Championship, and were previously a Super Rugby mainstay.

The Sharks have reached the Super Rugby Final on four occasions, yet they have failed to come away victorious on each attempt, earning them the worst finals record in Super Rugby. The South African side made it to the final of the inaugural Super Rugby season in 1996, with Jonah Lomu’s Auckland Blues running rampant with a 45-21 victory. The Sharks returned to the final in 2001 as the ‘Coastal Sharks’, and took a heavy 36-6 loss to the Brumbies.

In 2007, the Sharks were just edged out by the Bulls, in an all-South African final that saw Bryan Habana take centre stage for a 20-19 win. The Sharks’ last trip to any competition final was in 2012, which saw the Hamilton based Chiefs secure their first Super Rugby title, with an emphatic 37-6 win.

Additionally in 2021, the Sharks participated in the first invitational Toyota Challenge, and finished as runners up to the competition’s hosts, the Toyota Cheetahs. However, this round-robin competition was without an out-an-out final, so doesn’t make the cut. Since joining the expanded URC and Heineken Champions Cup, the Sharks’ best performance has been the quarter-final stages of both European based competitions.