URC Semi-Final Report | DHL Stormers 17 Ulster 15

URC Semi-Final Report | DHL Stormers 17 Ulster 15

17 days ago

Match Reports

DHL Stormers broke Ulster hearts as they clinched victory with the last play of the game in the URC Semi-Final on Saturday.

In a monumental battle, Ulster had a five-point lead for almost 40 minutes until the clock had gone deep into the red at Cape Town.

Billy Burns’ kick to start the game went deep to keep the Stormers inside their half for the opening passage of play. Damian Willemse was quick over the ball however to force a turnover for the hosts, and Manie Libbok kicked for territory. They opted for the maul from the line-out and got purchase as JJ Kotze went over for the Stormers to score. Manie Libbok’s conversion attempt was wide.

The Cape Town side got another penalty from inside their own half, allowing them to make their way back into Ulster territory. They sniped down the short side following the line-out to send Number Eight Evan Roos over for their second try of the afternoon.

The Ulster men responded just four minutes later, when Stewart Moore made a lovely flat-pass out wide to Rob Baloucoune who bundled in at the corner to pull one back. John Cooney’s conversion attempt rattled off the upright, making the gap five points between the two sides.

Billy Burns produced a moment of magic to put The Stormers under huge pressure, making two chips and gathers in quick succession, racing towards the line. It wasn’t long until Ulster profited from that pressure, when they went wide to Robert Baloucoune on the right wing, who made a fantastic offload inside to Stewart Moore who ran clear for the try. John Cooney landed the conversion to take the lead.

Ulster had to withstand waves of Stormers pressure in the final few minutes of the first half, but their outstanding defence frustrated the hosts, and Manie Libbok attempted the drop at goal but his kick was off-target.

There was time before the break for Ulster to build into Stormers territory, and the hosts were penalised for jumping across the line-out, which gave John Cooney the opportunity to stretch Ulster’s lead to five points going in at half-time.

The visitors had a golden opportunity on 50 minutes after Billy Burns and John Cooney worked in tandem to get Ulster close to the line. Ulster had a line-out a few metres out as Stormers had to sweep the ball into touch, but the hosts pinned Rob Herring into isolation off the maul to force the penalty.

Another chance came Ulster’s way five minutes later with a second five-metre line-out and maul, but Seabelo Senatla did well to make the tackle and dislodge the ball from Herring’s possession, giving the hosts a scrum.

Momentum seemed to shift by way of the hosts, as Ulster’s resolute defences were tested again and again. But Duane Vermeulen made a key turnover to get Ulster out of trouble. 

Stormers went down to fourteen with ten minutes left of the game to play, when Adre Smith had his hands in Iain Henderson’s eye area in the maul, and was sent off.

This appeared to galvanise the Cape Town team, and they went on the attack again. Ulster stood firm under immense strain, and got the turnover. Stewart Moore kicked clear. The hosts went again, and got a penalty just a few metres out. They opted for the scrum and after a number of re-sets, they went out wide to Warrick Gelant who bundled over with the clock hitting 84 minutes to draw level. Manie Libbok landed the conversion to progress to the URC Grand Final next week.

Full-time score: DHL Stormers 17 Ulster 15

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Scorers

DHL Stormers

Tries: JJ Kotze, Evan Roos, Warrick Gelant

Cons: Manie Libbok

Ulster

Tries: Rob Baloucoune, Stewart Moore

Cons: John Cooney

Pens: John Cooney

Line-ups

DHL Stormers

(15-9) Warrick Gelant, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Damian Willemse, Leolin Zas, Manie Libbok, Herschel Jantjies;

(1-8) Steven Kitshoff (Capt.), JJ Kotze, Frans Malherbe, Salmaan Moerat, Marvin Orie, Deon Fourie, Hacjivah Dayimani, Evan Roos.

Replacements: Andre-Hugo Venter, Brok Harris, Neethling Fouche, Adre Smith, Ernst van Rhyn, Nama Xaba, Godlen Masimla, Sacha Mngomezulu.

Ulster

(15-9) Stewart Moore, Rob Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Gareth Milasinovich, Kieran Treadwell, Matty Rea, Nathan Doak, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.

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