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Silver lining for Humphreys

David Humphreys' Gloucester survived Bill Meakes' red card to see off Edinburgh 19-13 and claim Challenge Cup glory at the Twickenham Stoop, reviving their Champions Cup qualification hopes at the expense of Sale and Harlequins.

Centre Meakes was dismissed for tackling Sam Beard high and without the ball with 15 minutes to play - but Gloucester clung on to secure their first silverware since the 2011 LV=Cup.

The 14-man Cherry and Whites rode out a nervy final quarter-hour to seal a victory founded on ex-Edinburgh scrum-half Greig Laidlaw's 14 points with the boot.

Billy Twelvetrees' try also helped ensure director of rugby and former Ulster favourite Humphreys will end his first season at Gloucester with a trophy in the bag.

The Kingsholm outfit will now represent the English clubs in the Champions Cup play-off, their second-tier European crown trumping either Sale or Quins finishing seventh in the Aviva Premiership.

Gloucester could even face Alan Solomons' men again in the two-match, three-team battle for the 20th slot in next term's coveted top-tier Champions Cup competition.

Humphreys' side will meet the seventh-placed Guinness PRO12 finisher in the May 23 play-off. The winner of that tie will then progress to face the seventh-placed French club from the Top 14.

It's a Gallic affair in the European Champions Cup Final today with Toulon seeking an unprecedented hat-trick of European titles.

Standing in their way at Twickenham will be Clermont Auvergne in the fifth all-French decider since European competition began 20 years ago.


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Belfast Telegraph


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