The DHL Stormers secured their place in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship Grand Final with a 43-25 semifinal win against Connacht at DHL Stadium on Saturday.
The six-try win in front of a record crowd for a non-final of 47 261 ensured that the defending champions will have the chance to defend their title in a fortnight’s time.
The visitors made a fast start, scoring an early penalty and a try in the corner from wing Mack Hansen to take an early 8-0 lead.
The DHL Stormers got on the scoreboard with a try from Angelo Davids, who took a pinpoint cross-kick from Manie Libbok before finishing.
Libbok added the conversion and put his team in front with a penalty shortly afterwards.
The Libbok show continued as two tries from the flyhalf had the Faithful cheering in the stands.
He was on hand to finish a great counter-attack, which he had sparked with a great kick downfield.
Shortly after that Libbok was on the end of a slick move as the home side took full control to the delight of the crowd.
Connacht had the final say in the first half with a try from flank Conor Oliver, but the hosts had a 24-13 advantage at the break.
The visitors scored first in the second half as well, with flank Shamus Hurley-Langton scoring to bring the gap back down to just four points.
The home side had their buffer back when replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet finished an attack that started in their own half.
Connacht scored once more, but the DHL Stormers pulled away with late tries from Marcel Theunissen to book their place in a second consecutive Grand Final.
For DHL Stormers:
Tries: Davids, Libbok 2, De Wet, Theunissen, Nel
Cons: Libbok 5
Tries: Hansen, Oliver, Hurley-Langton, Ralston
Cons: Carty 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 Willie Engelbrecht, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Ben-Jason Dixon, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.