Stormers through to second successive URC Grand Final

Stormers through to second successive URC Grand Final

The DHL Stormers stayed in the race to defend their Vodacom United Rugby Championship title as they held their nerve in a gripping semi-final against Connacht at a windy DHL Stadium in Cape Town for a 43-25 victory and a spot in the final.

Stormers vs Connacht 13 May 2023
Photo: Twitter/THESTORMERS

The Capetonians – who scored six tries to four by the Irish visitors with Springbok flyhalf Manie Libbok contributing 23 points - will face Munster in the Grand Final on Saturday, 27 May, in Cape Town.

The first half was gripping as Connacht dominated possession and applied pressure on the Capetonians, but a combination of the DHL Stormers’ effective defence and their ability to convert their chances into points, saw the hosts score three tries to two by Connacht. 

Libbok made a telling contribution in the half, scoring two tries and kicking all three conversions and a penalty goal.

The DHL Stormers added three tries to two by the spirited Connacht outfit in a hard-fought second half, and this sealed the victory for them, and steered them to their second successive Vodacom URC final.

Connacht had the first say in the match as flyhalf and captain, Jack Carty, kicked a penalty goal in the fourth minute and they built on this with some high-pressure attacking play in the next few minutes.

This paid off with wing Mack Hansen scoring a try nine minutes later after gathering a fantastic skip-pass out wide for an 8-0 lead.

The Cape side fought back strongly with wing Angelo Davids touching down in the 16th minute from a great cross-kick by Libbok, who added the extra two and a penalty goal soon after to hand his team a two-point lead.

Libbok scored their second try in the 28th minute after receiving a great pass into space from national team-mate Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf), and earned his double five minutes later following a stunning break by Davids, who fended off a defender from a lineout play before spreading the ball. 

This pushed them 24-8 ahead.

Connacht showed their fighting spirit to score their second try on the stroke of half-time compliments of flanker Conor Oliver, who wrestled his way over the chalk in contact, and this saw them enter the break trailing 24-13.

The third quarter was hard fought as both teams challenged one another on attack, and again Connacht showed their fight, which saw them score their third try by flanker Shamus Hurley-Langton from a pick-and-go. 

Carty added the extra two to take their score to 20 points.

The DHL Stormers canceled this out in the 64th minute with a great try by replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet following fantastic hands and vision by the team on the counter, and Libbok converted to stretch their lead back to 11 points.

Libbok had a chance to extend their lead further with a penalty goal, but his attempt went wide, and Connacht responded with a try by Byron Ralston with minutes left on the clock to push them back within range of a converted try.

Their hopes of an upset, however, were dashed as Marcel Theunissen scored the DHL Stormers’ fifth try after a desperate pass by flanker Hacjivah Dayimani in contact, which Theunissen snapped up for a 36-25 lead.

The hosts continued to play until the final whistle and they were rewarded with a try by Ruhan Nel after another brilliant Dayimani pass for a morale-boosting 43-25 victory and a spot in the Grand final.


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