- European Rugby Challenge Cup
- Friday, October 16th 2020
- Stade Maurice David
Will Carpenter reports from Stade Maurice David
Report: RC Toulon 19-32 Bristol Bears
Saturday, October 17th 2020
Bristol Bears won their first European trophy as they beat Toulon 32-19 in an enthralling Challenge Cup final at Stade Maurice-David.
On an historic night for the club, Harry Randall's try after 15 seconds set Pat Lam’s on their way to their first major honour since 1983, before Toulon hit back to lead 16-10 at the break.
But Max Malins classy score on the hour and 22 points from the boot of Callum Sheedy saw the Bears storm clear in Aix-en-Provence to earn major silverware for the first time in 37 years.
The Bears were out of the blocks in record time in the south of France, crossing for the opening score after just 15 seconds, as Radradra and Leiua combined straight from the kick off to send Randall over for the perfect start.
Sheedy’s opening penalty made it 10-0 three minutes later, but Toulon hit back with an opportunist try from Bryce Heem.
Thacker then saw his try disallowed for a knock-on as he attempted to ground at the tail of a driving lineout, before Louis Carbonel’s penalty levelled the scores.
The Bears had a second try disallowed on 26 minutes, when Joe Joyce’s sensational finish in the corner was ruled out for an adjudged forward pass in the build-up.
OH MY WORD! That is how you start a European final @BristolBears 🤯— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 16, 2020
DO NOT kick the ball to Semi Radradra, you have been warned!
Breathtaking rugby right from the opening kick-off 🔥#ChallengeCupRugby pic.twitter.com/Ys54YhPQk2
At the other end, Toulon quickly gained a foothold in a topsy-turvy encounter courtesy of two more Carbonel penalties to take six-point lead at the interval.
Sheedy closed the gap to three with his second penalty of the evening, before Carbonel cancelled it out.
But a quick-fire double from the faultless boot of Sheedy’s levelled things up once again, leaving the silky-smooth Malins to glide his way to a second Bears try and edge his side closer to the finish line.
A huge shove at scrum time earned Sheedy a fifth successful penalty – and the number ten put the icing on the Bears cake with his sixth, as the Bears sealed a maiden European title in typically stylish fashion.
Bristol Bears: Malins; Morahan, Radradra (O’Conor 61), S Piutau (c), Leiua; Sheedy, Randall (Kessell 78); Y Thomas, (Woolmore 56) Thacker, Sinckler (Afoa 56), Attwood, Joyce, Vui, D Thomas, Earl.
System players: Kloska, Woolmore, Afoa, Holmes, Heenan, Uren, O’Conor, Adeolokun.
RC Toulon: Cordin; Heem, Toeava, Paia’aua, Villiere; Carbonel, Serin; Gros, Etrillard (c), Gigashvili, Etzebeth, Taofifenua, Ollivon, Lakafia, Parisse.
Replacements: Soury, Fresia, Setiano, Alainu’uese, Rebbadj, Ory, Takalua, Dakuwaqa.
Bristol Bears: Tries: Randall 1, Malins 61. Cons: Sheedy 1, 61. Pens: Sheedy 4, 48, 55, 58, 74, 77
RC Toulon: Tries: Heem 12. Cons: Carbonel 12. Pens: Carbonel 21, 36, 40, 52
Locked in at 19-19, the next score was always going to be crucial.
Step up, Max Malins. Stepping, fending and gliding his way to the line - and the Challenge Cup trophy.
Pat Lam reaction
"The formula is exactly the same."— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 16, 2020
"Have no fear. Get everybody on the same page. Empower them."
Four minutes with Pat Lam after leading @BristolBears to their first European trophy 🙌#ChallengeCupRugby pic.twitter.com/aBNFLzCpC9
Man of the match: Ben Earl
Another blockbuster, all action performance the back-row forward.
Turnovers, carries, huge hits - Earl rose to the occasion in the number eight shirt to scoop the man of the match accolade.
"We trusted the system. So proud of the boys!"— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 16, 2020
"There was just a feeling in that group!"
Ben Earl speaks glowingly of Pat Lam after helping @BristolBears to their first European trophy!#ChallengeCupRugby pic.twitter.com/EOX6WcAbw3
Social media reaction
We’re just getting started. 🐻pic.twitter.com/E8CooijrX8— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) October 16, 2020
The moment @BristolBears sealed their first European trophy 🏆— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 16, 2020
A fantastic performance on the night caps a brilliant season, congratulations to Pat Lam and everyone involved!#ChallengeCupRugby pic.twitter.com/1RCLLRW7TF
Où est le blackbird? 🙋♂️ pic.twitter.com/bsSOEhmRlr— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) October 16, 2020
From the Championship to a European title in 2⃣ years 🤯— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) October 16, 2020
What dreams are made of 🐻 pic.twitter.com/7DJjISKJXC
How good 🥰— semi Radradra (@radradra_semi) October 16, 2020
Hey Bristol, Champions Cup next time? 🏆 pic.twitter.com/2mvbJaKVuz
What’s up Champs @BristolBears 🏆😍🐻— Steven Luatua (@StevenLuatua) October 16, 2020
- Malins, Randall
- Sheedy (2)
- Sheedy (6)
- Yellow Cards:
- Carbonel (4)
- Yellow Cards: