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Stormers edge Ulster in Cape Town arm-wrestle

MATCH REPORT: The Stormers came from behind to record a gritty 13-7 win over Ulster in a United Rugby Championship arm-wrestle in Cape Town on Saturday.

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The result, which had a Test-match feel to it, saw the Stormers move to within striking distance of a top-four position.

The teams scored one try each, with two Manie Libbok penalties proving the difference.

* To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!

Ulster applied the early pressure and got a reward when Nick Timoney cut straight through the Stormers’ defence to go over untouched. John Cooney added the extras for a 7-0 lead in as many minutes.

Manie Libbok pushed two penalty attempts wide, before Cooney hit the upright with one.

The game evolved into an arm wrestle, with kicking dominating the stage.

In the first half-hour, Ulster had 60 percent possession and 70 percent territory – indicating they had won the tactical battle.

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Cooney pushed another penalty wide, as the score stayed unchanged going into half-time.

The Stormers had an early opportunity in the second half, but the wrap-around from a line-out resulted in a knock-on and an easy exit for the visitors.

With half an hour remaining Frans Malherbe took to the field as a replacement to face off against his Springbok teammate Steven Kitshoff.

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Malherbe’s impact was immediate – a scrum penalty to the Stormers and three points from Libbok.

It had become a contest between the Stormers’ frantic attack and Ulster’s measured defence.

And the Stormers became more frenetic and agitated as the game wore on.

They eventually turned to their maul to get the vital score – Evan Roos getting the armchair ride over the line. Libbok found the target with the conversion – 10-7 with five minutes remaining.

The Stormers won a scrum penalty, with Libbok putting the seal on the win (13-7) with a gift three-pointer.

The scorers

For the Stormers
Try: Roos
Con: Libbok
Pens: Libbok 2

For Ulster
Try: Timoney
Con: Cooney

Yellow card: David McCann (Ulster, 61 – cynical foul, deliberate knock-on)

Teams:

Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Willie Engelbrecht, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Adre Smith, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Ben Loader.

Ulster: 15 Mike Lowry, 14 Rob Baloucoune, 13 James Hume, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Ethan McIlroy, 10 Nathan Doak, 9 John Cooney, 8 Nick Timoney, 7 David McCann, 6 Matty Rea, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Harry Sheridan, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Rob Herring (captain), 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Tom Stewart, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Cormac Izuchukwu, 20 Marcus Rea, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Jake Flannery, 23 Stewart Moore.

Referee: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa) and Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Colin Brett (Scotland )

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