Diarmuid Barron, Calvin Nash, John Hodnett try to score as Munster clinched the URC title well against the Stormers in Cape Town; Munster played five games away from home in a row to win the title – the first since 2011 – taking the result against the Stormers (twice), Sharks, Glasgow and Leinster
Last Updated: 5/27/23 8:26pm
Munster clinched their first major trophy in 12 years by claiming the U.S. Rugby Championship title following a sensational 19-14 win over the Stormers in Cape Town.
Flanker John Hodnett’s effort five minutes ago – converted from touchdown by half-flyer Jack Crowley – denied the Stormers a consecutive URC crown.
This is Munster’s fifth consecutive away game at the tournament as they turn their fortunes around after final defeats in 2015, 2017 and 2021.
Flanker Deon Fourie’s effort early in the second half, converted by Manie Libbok, appeared to have produced a tense and fierce encounter the Stormers’ way before Hodnett charged.
Fly-half Libbok scored an interception which he also converted, but Munster took a five-point lead at halftime after touches from Diarmuid Barron hooker and Calvin Nash wing, while Jack Crowley adds one more conversion.
Munster finally, and deservedly, had enough in the tank to provide silverware for their 5,000 traveling fans and confirm the impact head coach Graham Rowntree has made.
South Africa players Fourie and Marvin Orie returned to the Stormers squad after recovering from injuries in a 55,000-seat sold-out match at DHL Stadium.
Rowntree, meanwhile, made three changes from the side that beat opponents in the Leinster semifinals, with Nash, center Malakai Fekitoa and scrum-half Conor Murray all returning after completing their return-to-competition protocols. after the quarterfinals.
The Stormers delivered the opening blow after just six minutes and Munster had only himself to blame.
The initial momentum was aborted when centre-back Antoine Frisch’s highly speculative pass from just inside his half went straight to Libbok, who sprinted clearly to demand a try which he He also converted.
But Munster regrouped impressively and they broke through the Stormers defense just four minutes later when their strikers put in an attack from close range and Barron rushed in to give it a try.
Munster’s strikers were enjoying the battle and they almost added a second attempt after Stormers No. 8 Evan Roos was booked for offside but No 8 Gavin Coombes’ effort was disallowed.
The Stormers couldn’t make the game go free, being overtaken by Murray’s smart and precise tee as they found themselves cornered inside their own half.
Munster’s finish was the only area where they knocked themselves out, with a second attempt disqualified after captain Peter O’Mahony made a forward pass to full-back Mike Haley.
However, the Ireland side were lucky for a third time midway through the second half after Nash hit a superb cross-kick from Crowley, who finished impressively and Crowley converted to take a five-point lead.
But Munster lost O’Mahony shortly before he was on the pitch for a head injury assessment and was replaced by RG Snyman.
Libbok missed an opportunity to shorten the lead as he scored a penalty from close range just two minutes into the second half before Munster watched Haley foul after a late challenge with Angelo Davids of the Stormers.
The Stormers immediately took advantage of their temporary one-man advantage, with Munster powerless to prevent a run from ending when Fourie touched down and Libbok converted.
It was a much more cohesive performance for the Stormers in the second half, despite their declining fitness, and they claimed a two-point advantage in the final 15 minutes.
But Hodnett and Crowley then attacked and Munster completed the impossible mission even though Crowley received a late yellow card.