The KwaZulu-Natalians will face Gloucester in the final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Friday 24 May, after the English club defeated Benetton 40-23 in the other semi-final in England.

Hollywoodbets Sharks flyhalf Siya Masuku – who earned his third Man of the Match award in as many matches – played a crucial role in the narrow victory as he took full advantage of Clermont’s ill-discipline in the first half to slot six penalty goals, but the Durbanites let themselves down on defence as they leaked three tries, while the French outfit added two penalty goals to enter the sheds with an encouraging 28-18 lead.

The French side picked up where they left off early in the second stanza, adding yet another penalty goal to stretch their lead to 31-18, and they almost pushed the game out of reach for the KwaZulu-Natalians as they strung together a fantastic try-scoring opportunity, but fortunately for the South Africans, it was denied.

Clermont were dealt a blow in the 57th minute when Argentina international Bautista Delguy was sent to the sin bin, which paved the way for the Hollywoodbets Sharks to fight their way back into the game, and they capitalised on this with a pick-and-drive try by Springbok prop Vincent Koch, which Masuku converted, making it a six-point game.

The Durbanites also found themselves down to 14 men in the 63rd minute as Aphelele Fassi was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle, but they continued to show their fighting spirit and this paid off with a 70th minute try by Springbok speedster Makazole Mapimpi, and the extra two points by Masuku edged them into a 32-31 lead with time running out on the clock.

Clermont gave everything in a gripping end to the match, but the Hollywoodbets Sharks defended with intent to shut the out the French side and snatch the one-point victory, and in the process become the first South African franchise to advance to the EPCR Challenge Cup.


Hollywoodbets Sharks 32 (18) – Tries: Vincent Koch, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Siya Masuku (2). Penalty goals: Masuku (6).

Clermont Auvergne 31 (28) – Tries: Joris Jurand (2), Alex Newsome. Conversions: Anthony Belleau (2). Penalty goals: Belleau (4).