Gloucester forward hilariously backtracks on bold pre-match ‘prediction’ after being ‘munched’ by Sharks

Colin Newboult
Gloucester scrummaging against the Sharks in the 2024 Challenge Cup final.

Gloucester scrummaging against the Sharks in the 2024 Challenge Cup final.

Jamal Ford-Robinson is one of the Premiership’s great characters and to his immense credit took Gloucester’s humbling at the hands of the Sharks in great spirit.

The prop started the clash against the South Africans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday and before the clash posted a graphic on X, formerly Twitter.

It was of a lion biting a shark, with Ford-Robinson joking that the Cherry and Whites would be feasting on their opponents in the Challenge Cup final.

However, it did not go well for either the loosehead or his team as the 30-year-old was utterly dominated in the set-piece by Sharks tighthead Vincent Koch and was subsequently hooked at half-time with them 16-3 down.

Entire front-row replaced

Hooker Seb Blake and tighthead Fraser Balmain were also taken off, but their replacements failed to turn the tide.

They won a penalty off their first scrum in the second period before the Sharks eventually resumed command of the set-piece battle.

John Plumtree’s men duly went on to claim a dominant triumph as they secured their first major title with a 36-22 success over Gloucester.

Ford-Robinson’s pre-match prediction therefore came back to bite him and a few South African fans enjoyed rubbing his nose in it, but the prop produced a classy response.

He posted another picture of the lion and the shark just over an hour after the game had finished, but this time it was the latter who was about to munch on the former.

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Gloucester were gracious in defeat afterwards with captain Lewis Ludlow admitting that the Sharks were “almost” at international level in terms of intensity and performance.

“We’re gutted but also proud of what we’ve done this season. We’ve been through some rocky games and rough patches but we’ve always stayed tight as a squad,” Ludlow said.

“We understand we were beaten by the better side, there’s no other way to look at it. They played really well and took it almost to Test match level.

“They’ve got a lot of players who have been there and done it and most of them have won two World Cups.

“It was always going to be a tough ask but I’m extremely proud of the very young side we had out there.”

Scrum and game plan

Gloucester head coach George Skivington felt that the Sharks adapted their style to follow the Springboks’ knockout rugby model, to great success.

“Once they got dominance at scrum it didn’t matter what we did, we couldn’t get parity there and that made it pretty hard,” Skivington said.

“The boys did a good job and fought hard. That pack and that front-row have dominated some of the bet scrums in world rugby. We’ve got a good scrum in the Premiership, but it just wasn’t good enough here.

“They have serious firepower and ironically what we saw from them is not how they’ve been playing their rugby throughout the season.

“They tightened everything up and do what South Africans do very very well at international level. They squeezed us very well.”

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