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VIDEO: Misfiring set pieces a concern for Sharks

The Sharks will face Gloucester in the Challenge Cup Final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in London, on May 24.


It was two very contrasting semifinals.

The Sharks became the first South African franchise to qualify for a Europe Professional Club Rugby Final after they fought their way back from trailing by 13 points (18-31) on the hour mark, to record a thrilling 32-31 victory in a tense semifinal against Clermont Auvergne at the Twickenham Stoop in London on Saturday.

English Premiership outfit Gloucester defeated Benetton 40-23 in the other semifinal at Kingsholm in England.

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The Durban-based Sharks scored two brilliant tries – one while a man down – to edge French giants and three-times Challenge Cup winners Clermont Auvergne.

Flyhalf Siyabonga Masuku was perfect from the tee and kicked 22 points for the South African team – his match-winning touchline conversion eight minutes from time proving his class.

Before they face Gloucester in the Final they head back to Durban for two rounds of United Rugby Championship action – hosting Benetton (beaten comprehensively by Gloucester in the second semifinal on Saturday) and Cardiff.

Both games will be ideal opportunities to fix any issues which showed up in the semifinal squeaker against Clermont.


Sharks coach John Plumtree said the team looked ‘nervous’ in the opening half-hour, with their error count ‘gifting’ the French team opportunities.

“They showed real character,” Plumtree said of his team’s comeback in the second half.

“We got our game going and put them under pressure.

“It was a case of us not giving up, which is where I want to go with this team.”

(WATCH as Sharks coach John Plumtree gives his view of a nailbiting one-point win over Clermont Auvergne in a Challenge Cup semifinal…._)

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Plumtree admitted that the misfiring set p[ieces is an aspect they will have to look at in the build-up to the Final later this month.

“We have so much confidence in our scrum,” Plumtree told @rugby365com, adding: “That is [normally] a gift for us.

“We didn’t get on top in that department.

“It will just make us work harder.”

He added that they were aware of Clermont’s ability to contest the line-outs.

“We knew they are tough up front,” Plumtree said.

“It didn’t go all our way today, so it gives us something to focus on for the next game.”


Picture credit: @SharksRugby

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