Stormers blow big lead in loss to Munster
URC REPORT: The Stormers will be kicking themselves again after they blew a 15-point lead in their 18-34 defeat to Munster in Limerick on Saturday.
It was a tale of two halves with the Stormers outplaying the Irish side in the first half to race to a 15-0 lead before Munster started their fightback just before the half-time break.
Munster outscored their opponents by five tries to two with Springbok Rudolph Snyman scoring his first try for the Irish province.
The Stormers lived up to their name with a brilliant opening spell with Dan du Plessis making a break, but a penalty attempt from Manie Libbok went wide.
Still, the South Africans were very much in the ascendancy, driven on by powerful No.8 Evan Roos, who threw his big frame into everything.
Elusive fullback Gelant scrambled over for an unconverted eighth-minute try, rewarding some lovely hands from the forwards.
The free-running Stormers had a dozen points on the board by the 20-minute mark. Ruhan Nel got outside Keith Earls and offloaded sweetly for wing Zas to gallop clear and Libbok converted.
The Stormers flyhalf narrowly missed out on a third try before a Gelant penalty put 15 points between the teams.
Crucially, Munster managed to respond just before the break. Some relentless carrying ended with flank Jack O’Donoghue squeezing over for Joey Carbery to convert.
It was just the spark that the Irish province needed, their driving play paying dividends during a one-sided third quarter.
Stormers captain Salmaan Moerat saw yellow for a line-out infringement, and Jean Kleyn and hooker Niall Scannell both burrowed over while he was off.
Johann van Graan’s men were deadly from pick-and-drives and line-out mauls, stringing together 24 points in just 26 minutes.
The maul provided the platform for O’Donoghue to claim a 55th-minute bonus point, and with an ironclad one-handed grip on the ball, Snyman spun through from another line-out drive to gleefully slam the ball down.
Replacement Ben Healy converted and also landed a monster last-minute penalty, after the Stormers had ended their barren spell with a Tim Swiel penalty.
Man of the match: Peter O’Mahony was a terror in the air, picking up a number of line-out steals, while Evan Roos and Warrick Gelant shone during the Stormers’ purple patches. For his consistent gain-line success and graft around the pitch, Munster No.8 Gavin Coombes was picked out as the Man of the Match.
Tries: O’Donoghue 2, Kleyn, Scannell, Snyman
Cons: Carbery 2, Healy
Tries: Gelant, Zas
Pens: Gelant, Swiel
Yellow card: Salmaan Moerat (Stormers, 43 – foul play)
Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Jack O’Donoghue, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Fineen Wycherley, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Keynan Knox, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Jack O’Sullivan, 21 Rowan Osborne, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Simon Zebo.
Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 Salmaan Moerat, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Rikus Pretorius.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Oisin Quinn (Ireland), Daniel Carson (Ireland),
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)