Sharks coach hails character of gritty Sharks in Challenge Cup win

Sharks coach hails character of gritty Sharks in Challenge Cup win

Sharks coach John Plumtree hailed the character of his charges after they came from behind to edge Clermont Auvergne and reach the Challenge Cup final.

It was a thrilling affair at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday, with the lead changing hands several times. But with 21 minutes to go, Clermont hot on attack and 13 points in the clear, the task looked insurmountable even for the Springbok-laden Sharks team.

But a try from prop Vincent Koch sparked life into their attack. Ten minutes later, Makazole Mapimpi went over in the corner and flyhalf Siya Masuku stepped up to swerve in an incredible conversion from the touchline, making the score 32-31.

The Durban franchise then defended like Trojans in the dying embers of the game, ultimately booking their place in the final. 

"They showed real character," Plumtree told

"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."

With an all-Bok front row and Eben Etzebeth behind them, the Sharks were expected to dominate in the scrums and up front, but the Clermont forwards fronted up well.

"We have so much confidence in our scrum," continued Plumtree.

"That is [normally] a gift for us. We didn't get on top in that department.

"It will just make us work harder. We knew they are tough up front. It didn't go all our way today, so it gives us something to focus on for the next game."

The Sharks will get their first chance at a European trophy when they face Gloucester at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on 24 May.

READ MORE: Sharks into Challenge Cup final after stunning comeback win over Clermont