DHL Stormers just short in Vodacom URC Grand Final

PUBLISHED: May 27, 2023

The DHL Stormers went down 19-14 against Munster in a hard-fought Vodacom United Rugby Championship Grand Final at DHL Stadium on Saturday.

It was a game that could have gone either way and was in the balance until the final stages, but the Irish side did just enough in the end to claim the title.

A crowd of 56 344 came out to witness the showpiece match – the most ever for any DHL Stormers game.

The home side got up and running early as Manie Libbok grabbed an intercept and raced from his own half to score the opening try.

The visitors responded almost immediately with a maul try in the corner from hooker Diarmuid Barron to make it 7-5 after a frenetic opening 10 minutes.

The DHL Stormers were down to 14 when No.8 Evan Roos was shown a yellow card for a cynical infringement in the 22.

They were forced to defend, with two Munster tries disallowed, but eventually it came when the ball bounced up for wing Calvin Nash to score, putting Munster in the lead for the first time just before Roos made his return.

The DHL Stormers pressed for a second try late in the first half, but Munster held out under pressure to take a 12-7 lead into the break.

The home side made a strong start to the second half and Munster were down to 14 when fullback Mike Haley was shown yellow for taking out Angelo Davids off the ball.

The DHL Stormers were back in front soon after as Deon Fourie scored from a maul and Libbok added the extras to make it 14-12.

However, it was Munster who had the final say as flank John Hodnett scored the winning try just five minutes from the end to see the Irish side claim the title.

The scorers:

For DHL Stormers:
Libbok, Fourie
Cons: Libbok 2

For Munster:
Barron, Nash, Hodnett
Cons: Crowley 2

DHL Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 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 Ali Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ben-Jason Dixon, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Clayton Blommetjies.