Bristol Bears reach Challenge Cup final with 37-20 win over Bordeaux in extra time

Callum Sheedy kicked 17 points
Callum Sheedy kicked 17 points
©Steve Haag

Bristol Bears 37-20 Bordeaux Begles, Ashton Gate

Bristol Bears have reached the European Challenge Cup final for the first time as they defeated Bordeaux Begles 37-20 at Ashton Gate in the semi-final on Saturday.

The two teams were levelled at 20-20 in the 80 minutes but Pat Lam's side sealed the game in the extra time with tries from Piers O'Connor and Max Malins. They will now face the winner of Toulon and Leicester Tigers in the final next month.

The opening try in the game came in the 11th minute when Jefferson Poirot build up allowing Matthieu Jalibert to cross over the line and Maxime Lucu followed with the conversion to provide the visitors a seven point lead. They increased their lead to 13 points after Jalibert kicking back to back penalties in the 27th and 30th minutes making it 0-13.

Just as the half-time was approaching, Bristol managed to open their account after Alapati Leiua recycled the ball to Semi Radradra allowing Steven Luatua to touchdown and Callum Sheedy improved it to make the scoreline 7-13 in the opening half.

The start of the second half saw Radradra yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle that saw Jalibert leave the field injured. Despite the numerical disadvantage, Bristol did not concede any point and when they returned to full strength when Randall's kick was gathered by Malins as he crossed the whitewash and Sheedy improved it making it 14-13.

With back to back penalties from Sheedy, the home side increased their lead to seven points but that was cancelled out when Dweba dived from close range that Botica improved making it 20-20. Bordeaux went down to 14 players after suffering injuries in end and using all their replacements.

As the game went into the extra time, tries from O'Conor and Malins proved enough as Bristol continued their impressive form this season to become the first team to book a final in this year's European competition.