Hollywoodbets Sharks win first EPCR Challenge Cup title

Hollywoodbets Sharks win first EPCR Challenge Cup title

Hollywoodbets Sharks lifted the EPCR Challenge Cup following a 36-22 win over Gloucester Rugby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It is the EPCR first title won by a South African club since they began competing in the competitions two seasons ago, with Hollywoodbets Sharks writing their name into the history books.

Fly-half Siya Masuku kicked 21 points, converting all three of his side’s tries and adding five penalties as he helped the South African outfit secure Investec Champions Cup rugby next season.

The first 15 minutes were dominated by Gloucester Rugby after a series of early penalties against Hollywoodbets Sharks allowed the Cherry and Whites to apply sustained pressure on the South African club’s try line.

However, it proved to no avail. The Gallagher Premiership club got within millimetres of the line, but no further.

Even when full-back Aphelele Fassi was sent to the sin-bin, Gloucester Rugby huffed and puffed but were unable to find a way across the line – and soon they would regret not making the most of their early dominance.

Masuku kicked the first points of the match with a penalty in the 14th minute and despite a response from the tee via scrum-half Caolan Englefield, the South African club soon raced into the lead thanks to an incredible individual try from Phepsi Buthelezi.


The No.8 shrugged off three tackles before a clever show-and-go allowed him to dot down for the game’s opening try. Masuku converted and added two further penalties to give Hollywoodbets Sharks a commanding 16-3 half-time lead. 

Penalties were killing the hopes of the Gloucester Rugby faithful, who had travelled to Tottenham in their thousands. The start of the second half did not provide a reprieve, with Masuku knocking over another six points. 

Then came the killer blow – a break down the wing from Makazole Mapimpi got the South African club within metres of the line and moments later Fassi was on hand to dive over underneath the posts. 

Gloucester Rugby responded with a converted try from replacement Albert Tuisue, but soon it was Mapimpi’s turn to get on the score sheet, dotting down in the corner after a stunning cross-field kick from the imperious Masuku. 

Some pride was restored for the Gallagher Premiership club, with replacement Santiago Socino and second row Freddie Clarke going over late on, but there was no spoiling the Hollywoodbets Sharks party now. 

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