DHL Stormers take defending champs down

PUBLISHED: December 16, 2023

The DHL Stormers claimed a breathtaking 21-20 win against defending champions Stade Rochelais in their Investec Champions Cup clash at DHL Stadium on Saturday.

A touchline conversion from Manie Libbok snatched a dramatic victory to the delight of the fiathful supporters at DHL Stadium.

The DHL Stormers never stopped fighting, despite being behind from the third minute and were rewarded with an epic victory.

The first half was incredibly physical and tense, with both teams kicking two penalties and the visitors scoring the only try.

Stade Rochelais raced out to a 10-0 lead as an early penalty was followed by an opportunistic try from scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

The DHL Stormers found a foothold in the match and visited the 22 on several occasions, with the Frech team’s defence denying them each time.

There were two penalties from Manie Libbok to show for their efforts, which saw the DHL Stormers go into half-time trailing 6-13.

The DHL Stormers started the second half with real intent and another Libbok penalty brought them closer, but the visitors would score against the run of play as No.8 Yoan Tanga dotted down in the corner after Dillyn Leyds looked to have lost it forward.

The DHL Stormers refused to drop their heads and responded with a great try of their own as Ben Loader plucked a cross-kick out of the air to score in the corner.

The match went down to the wire and it looked like Stade Rochelais would hold out for the win, but a late maul try from replacement hooker Andre-Hugo Venter gave Libbok the opportunity to win it and he did not disappoint, landing the touchline conversion and sparking wild celebrations.

The scorers:

For DHL Stormers:
Loader, Venter
Con: Libbok
Pens: Libbok 3

For Stade Rochelais:
Kerr-Barlow, Tanga
Cons: Hastoy 2
Pens: Hastoy 2

DHL Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Courtnall Skosan.