Reigning United Rugby Championship title holders, the DHL Stormers secured their place in this season’s final with an explosive 43 – 25 win over Irish side Connacht.
In front a raucous crowd at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town, John Dobson’s side did as they have so often this season and exploded at points throughout this fixture.
Trailing 8 – 0 early on, the Stormers looked nervy as Connacht applied the pressure with a Jack Carty penalty being followed up by a brilliant try from winger Mack Hansen.
With the first 15-minutes going the way of the visitors there were a few nervous fans in the stands.
Yet, showing their true championship mentality, the Stormers struck and struck hard with Angelo Davids getting over for a well worked try.
The try would prove to be a turning point as Manie Libbok took over proceedings with two tries five minutes apart on the 27th and 32nd minutes. Once again, the Springbok flyhalf was sublime from the kicking tee landing five conversions and two penalties.
Scoring the Stormers other three tries were centre Ruhan Nel and substitutes Marcel Theunissen and Paul De Wet.
Despite the lopsided final score, the fixture was a tight affair throughout with Connacht scoring four tries of their own.
Once again proving to be the difference was the Stormers ability to score points in quick succession with their final two tries coming three minutes apart to put a bow on the victory.
For Connacht, whilst they would’ve craved a chance to play in a final back in Ireland in two weeks’ time, a semi-final place was a sensational return on a season that after the first month appeared lost.
The game was also the final time that head coach Andry Friend would lead Connacht as the Australian departs Galway after five productive seasons.
To the victors go the spoils and the Stormers are thoroughly deserving of their place in the final after a very promising regular season and strong play-off showings.
All there is do now is wait and see whether they will be travelling to Dublin or staying put in Cape Town depending on the result of today’s clash between Leinster and Munster.
Clearly, Dobson and his men will be cheering on Munster with a view to a second successive final in the Cape.
— DHL Stormers (@THESTORMERS) May 13, 2023