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European Challenge Cup | Final
May 24, 2024 at 8pm UK
GloucesterGloucester Rugby
Tuisue (57'), Socino (75'), Clarke (78')
Buthelezi (25'), Fassi (54'), Mapimpi (59')

Sharks hold off Gloucester to win European Challenge Cup

Sharks hold off Gloucester to win European Challenge Cup
© Reuters
The Sharks are crowned European Challenge Cup winners thanks to a 36-22 win over Gloucester at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Sharks of South Africa soared to the 2023-24 European Challenge Cup title thanks to a 36-22 win over Gloucester Rugby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Tries from Phepsi Buthelezi, Aphelele Fassi and Makazole Mapimpi - in addition to Siya Masuku's masterful kicking - launched John Plumtree's side to the second-tier honour, the biggest prize in their history.

Albert Tuisue, Santiago Socino and Freddie Clarke crossed the line for Gloucester - the latter two both dove over in the final 10 minutes - but their efforts were far too little too late as the two-time champions were blown away by the Sharks' offensive might.

The United Rugby Championship giants led 16-3 going into the interval, as a Buthelezi effort complemented a trio of Masuku penalties, before Fassi forced his way over 14 minutes into the second half.

Tuisue came up with a swift reply to Fassi's try, but the Sharks responded in kind as Mapimpi latched onto a Masuku kick for his team's third, and a disallowed Stephen Varney effort in minute 72 epitomised Gloucester's dire evening.

Socino and Clarke at least managed to make the scoreline more respectable in the closing stages, but there was no stopping the Sharks taking the EPCR crown back to South Africa, as Jonny May's final game for Gloucester ended in dismay.

Friday's contest preceded Saturday's European Champions Cup final, where Leinster and Toulouse will lock horns in North London.

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England's Jonny May pictured in August 2023
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