Sharks beat Gloucester 36-22 to clinch European Challenge Cup

Makazole Mapimpi was one of the try scorer for Sharks
Makazole Mapimpi was one of the try scorer for Sharks
©Steve Haag

Gloucester 22-36 Sharks, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Sharks became the first South African side to clinch a European trophy as they defeated Gloucester 36-22 in the final of the Challenge Cup at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday.

The result means Sharks will be playing in the Champions Cup next season while Gloucester missed a chance to win the title for the third time after previously winning in 2009 and 2015.

Sharks suffered an early setback with full-back Aphelele Fassi sin-binned in the 6th minute for a high tackle on Caolan Englefield. Despite the numerical advantage, Gloucester failed to make a mark but Sharks got their first points in the 14th minute when Siya Masuku slotted a three-pointer after the Premiership side were penalised at scrum.

Santiago Carreras had a chance to open their account in the 21st minute but his penalty kick drifted wide before the scores were levelled a minute later when Englefield converted a penalty kick.

The opening try of the game came in the 25th minute when Phepsi Buthelesi went past a couple of tackles to touchdown and Masuku improved to make it 3-10.

Gloucester's indiscipline hampered their chances as they were penalised for not rolling away in the 30th minute and Masuku kicked back to back three-pointers to ensure the South African side completed the opening half with a 3-16 lead.

Masuku continued his impressive kicking form as he slotted back to back penalty kicks to extend their lead to 22 points before Makazole Mapimpi sent a wide pass for Fassi to cross under the posts. Masuku also kicked the conversion to make it 3-29.

Gloucester Rugby responded with a converted try from replacement Albert Tuisue but his effort was cancelled out with a split kick from Carreras allowed Mapimpi to crossover to make it 10-26. The final five minutes saw Santiago Socino and Freddie Clarke touchdown for the Cherry and Whites but that did not stop Sharks from completing the title victory.

Team line up:

Gloucester: Carreras; May, Harris, Atkinson, Thorley; Hastings, Englefield; Ford-Robinson, Blake, Balmain; Clarke, Clark; Ackermann, Ludlow (c), Mercer.

Reserves: Socino, Vivas, Gotovtsev, Tuisue, Clement, Varney, Llewellyn, Hathaway.

Sharks: Fassi; Kok, Hooker, Venter, Mapimpi; Masuku, Williams; Nche, Mbonambi, Koch; Etzebeth (c), Grobler; Venter, Tshituka, Buthelezi.

Reserves: Mbatha, Mchunu, Jacobs, Labuschagne, Richardson, Wright, Bosch, Keyter.