Bongi Mbonambi downing a beer with a fan. Image: screenshot via TNTSport on X

WATCH: Sharks win – Bongi downs a beer with a fan!

Sharks win the Challenge Cup final 36-22 against Gloucester, securing their first European title and a spot in next season’s Champions Cup.


Bongi Mbonambi downing a beer with a fan. Image: screenshot via TNTSport on X

The Sharks have secured the Challenge Cup championship following their impressive victory in the European tournament final on Friday.

They triumphed 36-22 against Gloucester in front of a packed crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Dominant Performance from Sharks Pack

The Sharks’ forwards delivered a standout performance, with their front row laying the groundwork for their Challenge Cup victory.

Hooker Bongi Mbonambi, along with Ox Nche and Vincent Koch, excelled during scrums, winning numerous penalties against the Gloucester pack. This dominance was pivotal in their 36-22 triumph.

Sharks Celebrations and Cheers

The final whistle brought wild celebrations among the players and fans. Bongi Mbonambi took a moment to celebrate with the Sharks supporters, even downing a beer in a lighthearted gesture.

This victory marks a significant achievement as the Sharks became the first South African team to win a major European cup trophy.

Bongi’s beer moment

Forward Power and Backline Skill

The Sharks showcased a mix of forward power and backline skill, outplaying Gloucester in the Challenge Cup final.

Their scrum was dominant, winning key set-pieces, while Grant Williams and Siya Masuku orchestrated play from the back. This combination proved too strong for their English opponents.

Ensuring Sharks’ Champions Cup Qualification

This victory not only brought the Sharks the Challenge Cup title but also secured their place in next season’s top-tier Champions Cup competition.

Coach John Plumtree, the players, and the union can find satisfaction and joy in this achievement, especially after a challenging season in the United Rugby Championship with only four wins in 17 matches.

A Shaky Start for Sharks

The match didn’t start well for the Sharks. Fullback Aphelele Fassi narrowly escaped a red card early on after taking out a Gloucester player in the air.

Gloucester applied pressure and won several penalties, but strong defence and Gloucester’s missed opportunities allowed the Sharks to hold firm.

Fassi eventually received a yellow card for being offside, but the Sharks soon turned the tide. They won a penalty from the first scrum, shifting momentum in their favour.

Two more scrum penalties followed before halftime, establishing their dominance.

Sharks Building the Lead

Sharks flyhalf Masuku put his team on the scoreboard with a penalty in the 15th minute. Gloucester responded with a penalty of their own, but Phepsi Buthelezi’s stunning solo try, converted by Masuku, extended the Sharks’ lead.

Masuku added two more penalties before halftime, giving the Sharks a 16-3 advantage.

Second Half Dominance by Sharks

Gloucester attempted to fight back by changing their front row, but the Sharks’ scrum dominance continued. Masuku kicked another penalty to extend the lead to 19-3, and then added a fifth to make it 22-3.

The Sharks capitalised on their momentum, with Fassi scoring a second try after quality inter-play between backs and forwards, further extending their lead.

Gloucester’s Response

Gloucester’s Albert Tuisue powered over from a 5m lineout win, with Adam Hastings converting.

However, the Sharks quickly responded as Makazole Mapimpi collected a pinpoint cross-field kick by Masuku to score their third try, which Masuku converted.

Despite Gloucester scoring two late tries, the Sharks maintained their lead and secured a historic victory. This win signifies a significant milestone for South African rugby on the European stage.


The Sharks’ performance in the Challenge Cup final was a blend of power, skill, and strategic play.

Their victory not only brings them the prestigious title but also ensures their place in the Champions Cup next season, marking a triumphant moment for the team and their supporters.