DHL Stormers in hard-fought Dublin draw

PUBLISHED: March 24, 2023

The DHL Stormers and Leinster played out a hard-fought 22-22 draw in their tabletopping Vodacom United Rugby Championship encounter in Dublin on Friday.

The howling wind at the RDS Arena played a major role as the DHL Stormers dominated the first half before Leinster came roaring back after half-time.

It was a thrilling match which saw seven tries in total, with the DHL Stormers taking two log points for their efforts, strengthening their position at second on the standings with two rounds to go before the play-offs.

The DHL Stormers started with great intensity and got the reward with an early penalty which Manie Libbok kicked from right in front.

Libbok had a go at a drop-goal shortly afterwards as the visitors looked to capitalise on their territorial advantage but it went wide.

The flyhalf would add to his tally when he went over for the opening try, stepping past a few defenders close to the line to score between the poles.

The conversion made it 10-0 and after absorbing some pressure on defence, it was Libbok who sparked the second try as he picked up a loose ball and raced into the opposition 22, before handing it to Suleiman Hartzenberg to score.

The home side responded with a try from prop Michael Milne on the stroke of half-time, but the DHL Stormers still took an impressive 17-5 lead into the break.

Leinster added a second try early in the second half when flank Scott Penny went over from a maul to bring them back within seven points.

They were within two when a high ball was spilled by Clayton Blommetjies and won back by Leinster for wing Rob Russell to score in the corner.

The DHL Stormers were reduced to 14 when Hartzenberg was shown a yellow card for a cynical infringement and Leinster took advantage with a try from No.8 Max Deegan, which saw them take the lead for the first time.

But the DHL Stormers refused to give in and kept pushing. A scrum penalty followed by a maul penalty gave them the field position they needed before Libbok put through a grubber for Blommetjies to chase.

The fullback got on the end of it and that was enough to level the scores, setting up a tense finish. While both teams had their chances to win it, there was no separating them in the end.

The scorers:

For DHL Stormers:
Libbok, Hartzenberg, Blommetjies
Cons: Libbok 2
Pen: Libbok

For Leinster:
Tries: Milne, Penny, Russell, Deegan
Con: Byrne

DHL Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis.

Leinster: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Rob Russell, 13 Liam Turner, 12 Ciarán Frawley, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Harry Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath, 1 Michael Milne, 2 John McKee, 3 Michael Ala’alatoa, 4 Ross Molony, 5 Jason Jenkins, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 7 Scott Penny, 8 Max Deegan.
Replacements: 16 Lee Barron, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Vakhtang Abdaladze, 19 Brian Deeny, 20 Will Connors, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Charlie Tector, 23 Ben Brownlee.