Munster Rugby 34 DHL Stormers 18 in United Rugby Championship

Munster Rugby claim a bonus-point win over the DHL Stormers. Credit: @Munsterrugby.

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At home for the second week, Munster Rugby again gained a bonus-point win over South African opposition on a 34-18 scoreline.

While last Saturday’s game was relatively comfortable for Johann van Graan’s side, tonight’s fixture was a different matter. In a first half dominated by the Stormers, it took Munster until the cusp of the half-time whistle to score.

The DHL Stormers, one of the new South African sides in the United Rugby Championship, certainly showed they were worth their place in the new dual-hemisphere competition, despite the flattering final score in favour of Munster.

The home side, which saw four changes to the starting line-up from the team that achieved a bonus point win last Saturday, could not cope with the speed and slickness of passing of their visitors, who dominated both territory and possession in the opening half the fixture.

Stormers dominate possession and territory

The DHL Stormers got no more than they deserved when opening the scoring in the 9th minute of the game. The home side had found themselves pinned into their own half by the visitors before Stormers’ fullback Warrick Gelant touched down for a five-pointer. The resultant conversion attempt was missed by Mannie Libbock, who had minutes earlier missed a penalty attempt from the Munster 10m line.

The South African outfit increased their lead towards the end of the opening quarter of the game. More slick passing from the southern hemisphere side saw winger Leolin Zas run the touchline to easily claim his side’s second try of the game. This time kicker Libbok made no doubt about the conversion; he added the extra two points to move his team into a 12-0 lead.

The aforementioned Libbok soon thought he had scored his own try when it looked as though he had successfully touched down. Though the referee initially gave the score, on review and in consultation with the TMO, the team of officials decided there hadn’t been a clear grounding.

Fullback Gelant kicked a straightforward penalty on the half-hour as the Stormers extended their advantage to 15 points.

Munster finally score

It took until the clock went into red, at the end of the first period for the home side to finally get on the scoresheet. Waterford’s Jack O’Donoghue burrowed over to touch down following a powerful Munster drive to the line. With Craig Casey taking the ball from the maul, O’Donoghue soon found himself in possession, and the Waterford native showed his customary strength as he found enough room to crash over.

Joey Carbery added the conversion to send his side in at half time eight points behind the Stormers.

Half-time: Munster Rugby 7 DHL Stormers 15

The game began to change when the sin-binning of the Stormers’ lock Salmaan Moerat gave Munster a one-man advantage. Johann van Graan’s side soon made their advantage count of the scoreboard when big South African Jean Kleyn scored the Munstermen’s second try of the night. Another easy conversion for a player of Carbery’s calibre saw the hosts reduce the deficit to just a solitary point, and they still had the extra man.

Scannell and O’Donoghue add tries

Munster were soon over for another try, with Niall Scannell the beneficiary of what was also an entire team drive for the Stormers’ line. The Corkman emerged from the bottom of the pile, having put his side into the lead for the first time in the game.

Despite Carbery’s conversion attempt swinging in late towards the posts, the number 10’s effort went slight wide of the left-hand post, from a difficult starting position on the touchline in front of the East Stand.

Jack O’Donoghue brought up his brace of tries, and the bonus point, when extending his side’s advantage before the 60th minute. Carbery, who had a very mixed night kicking for the posts, this time saw his effort come off the left-hand post, leaving his team 24-15 in front as the final quarter of the game approached.

Replacement Tim Swiel reduced the Munster lead to 6 points when kicking a penalty on 65 minutes for the Stormers when the home side failed to roll away.

The biggest cheer of the night from home crowd came when RG Syman scored Munster’s fifth try. O’Mahony won the lineout cleanly allowing the huge Springbok to bulldoze his way over, leaving many of his fellow countrymen in his wake as they tried in vain to stop the powerhouse.

Ben Healy, who along with Snyman, had come off the bench in the second half, added the extras for what earlier in the game would have seemed a very unlikely victory.

Healy added a 44m penalty kick right before the final whistle, meaning Munster ran out 34-18 winners.

Final score: Munster Rugby 34 DHL Stormers 18

Munster Team:

15. Mike Haley, 14. Calvin Nash, 13. Keith Earls, 12. Rory Scannell, 11. Shane Daly, 10. Joey Carbery, 9. Craig Casey.

1. Dave Kilcoyne, 2. Niall Scannell, 3. Keynan Knox, 4. Jean Kleyn, 5. Fineen Wycherley, 6. Peter O’Mahony (captain), 7. Jack O’Donoghue, 8. Gavin Coombes.

Munster Rugby Replacements:

16. Diarmuid Barron, 17. Jeremy Loughman, 18. Stephen Archer, 19. RG Snyman, 20. Jack O’Sullivan, 21. Rowan Osborne, 22. Ben Healy, 23. Simon Zebo.

DHL Stormers Team:

15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Sergeal Petersen, 13. Ruhan Nel, 12. Daniel du Plessis, 11. Leolin Zas, 10. Manie Libbok, 9. Stefan Ungerer.

1. Brok Harris, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 3. Neethling Fouche, 4. Adre Smith, 5. Salmaan Moerat, 6. Nama Xaba, 7. Willie Engelbrecht, 8. Evan Roos.

DHL Stormers 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.

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