Semi Radradra certainly didn’t take it easy on his former club – Bordeaux Begles – when Bristol Bears met them in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup on the weekend. Radradra made an impressive 22 carries for 122 metres in the thrilling extra-time win over Bordeaux-Bègles.
All eyes will be on EPCR European Player of the Year nominee in the final. In fact Bristol Bears teammate, Luke Morahan, has made the most metres this season with 499 and also the most clean breaks with 21.
With Bristol Bears and RC Toulon reaching the final, a new name will go on the trophy following next month’s decider in Aix-en-Provence. Bristol in their first final, and Toulon in their third, will be vying to become the 16th club to win the tournament.
Both finalist Head Coaches have experienced European success as players with Toulon’s Patrice Collazo wining the Challenge Cup with Gloucester in 2006, while Pat Lam captained Northampton Saints to Heineken Cup glory in 2000.
Following their 34-19 win against Leicester Tigers, Toulon have now won all three of their tournament semi-finals, however, after final defeats in 2010 and 2012, they are looking to add a first Challenge Cup triumph to their three Heineken Champions Cup titles.
Next month’s decider will be the ninth Anglo-French Challenge Cup final with England ahead 5-3.
Toulon have the best tackle success rate this season, completing 88% of their attempted tackles, with only Cardiff Blues (14.8) averaging fewer missed tackles per game (16.3).
In addition to scoring two tries against Leicester, Man of the Match, Gabin Villière, made nine carries for 123 metres, and completed 11 tackles.
Bristol Bears are this season’s leading try scorers (38) and points scorers (302) from their eight matches to date.
Of the players who featured for the victorious semi-finalists, Toulon’s Sergio Parisse and Raphael Lakafia were Challenge Cup winners with Stade Francais Paris in 2017, while John Afoa of Bristol Bears was a winner with Gloucester in 2015.
Toulon have won their last five Challenge Cup games against Gallagher Premiership opposition, more than they had won in their previous 13 such fixtures.
Toulon are the only side with a 100 oer cent winning record this season, and their current eight-game streak is their best in the competition.
Despite being a replacement, Bristol Bears back row Dan Thomas, registered 18 tackles against Bordeaux.
2020 CHALLENGE CUP FINAL
(Kick-off local time)
Friday 16 October
BRISTOL BEARS v RC TOULON
Stade Maurice-David, Aix-en-Provence (21.00)
FR 4/beIN SPORTS/BT Sport/RugbyPass
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