Date Time Competition Season
13 May 2023 3:00 pm United Rugby Championship 2022/23

Match Report

Connacht fall short as Stormers book final spot

A commendably courageous Connacht performance fell short against a spellbinding, strong DHL Stormers who saw off the Westerners 43-25 in a ten try epic.

In both sides’ second successive knockout game, Connacht, not renowned for their fast starts, were like lightning from the kick off.

The visitors pack, including URC elite men, Finlay Bealham and Niall Murray, stood strong early, winning the match’s first penalty, converted calmly into the first points by Jack Carty.

With Stormers stumbly from set pieces and handling, Connacht pressure earned them a dream position, attacking scrum in the twenty-two. 

A steady base and charge from Cian Prendergast worked space before Carty crisply whisked the ball wide for Mack Hansen to hare heroically into the left corner.  Carty’s conversion missed but 0-8 fourteen minutes in was a wonderful start.

In Champion fashion, Stormers stormed back, almost immediately cancelling out Hansen’s try, winger Angelo Davids this time the beneficiary of fine fly-half play, gathering Marnie Libbok’s pinpoint crossfield kick and dotting down, Libbok adding the extras to make it a, thrilling, one-point gap.

Connacht, after commencing on the front foot, were now being manipulated by the pace of Stormers’ passing, the South African side edged ahead with a Libbok penalty that Cape Town cheered to the rafters.

Libbok was looking lively and he instigated a crucial second score for the hosts.  

Starting in his own twenty-two, his kick-chase found Dan du Pleiss unattended wide left, from there they had the numbers, Herschel Jantjies found his half-back partner, Libbok lolling in under the posts for a seven-pointer of his creation.

As the hosts pressed, the opening quarter must have felt like a miraculous mirage of water in a desert for Andy Friend’s side as Carty’s missed kick to touch was ruthlessly punished by another long-range, high-speed Stormers advance.

This time Davids was the provider, bursting through Carty’s weak tackle and offloading to Libbok, he cantered over and converted to make it 24-8, already on a nineteen-point haul!

Connacht however were in no mood to collapse and mirroring their start, ended the half on a high.

Tom Farrell’s lung-busting burst from centre made the yards and from quick recycling, Denis Buckley’s cute pop-up pass was pounced upon and propelled into a try by flanker Conor Oliver.

In bizarre circumstances, the wind skewed Carty’s attempt of a conversion to leave it 24-13 and still an uphill task for Friend’s side entering the second half.

And so the visitors rolled up their sleeves, defended resolutely during the third quarter, and Shamus Hurley-Langton stormed over, Carty adding the two to set home nerves jangling.

With fifteen minutes remaining, the Stormers’ squad strength told as replacement scrum half Paul du Wett scored their fourth try.

Yet, entering a simply ridiculous final five minutes of rugby, an away substitute, Bryan Ralston hauled Connacht back within a converted try, echoing Hansen’s precise touchline finish.

Like a boxer on the ropes though, Friend’s men were being pummelled soon enough again and another substitute, Marcel Theunissen finally secured the win, putting eleven points once more between the teams entering the final minute.

Stormers finished with finesse, an audacious around-the-man back pass freeing Ruhan Nel to cap a scintillating game of rugby.

Libbock’s fourth accurate conversion (his tally totalling twenty-three points) put an inaccurate slant to the final score of 43-25.

So, Friend says farewell with a heroic but losing display in Cape Town, for a province, that gutsy until the last, can satisfy themselves with reaching this stage for just the second time in their history.

DHL Stormers

15Damian Willemse Full-Back
14Angelo Davids Winger 15'
13Ruhan Nel Centre 80'
12Dan du Plessis Centre
11Leolin Zas Winger
10Manie Libbok Fly-Half 28', 33'
16', 29', 34', 66', 81'
9Herschel Jantjies 21 Scrum-Half
1Steven Kitshoff 17 Prop
2Joseph Dweba 16 Hooker
3Frans Malherbe 18 Prop
4Ben-Jason Dixon Lock
5Ruben Van Heerden Lock
6Willie Engelbrecht Flanker
7Hacjivah Dayimani Flanker
8Evan Roos 19 No. 8
16JJ Kotze 2
17Ali Vermaak 1
18Neething Fouche 3
19Connor Evans 8
20Marcel Theunissen 77'
21Paul de Wet 9 65'
22Jean-Luc du Plessis
23Sacha Mngomezulu Fly-Half


15Tiernan O’Halloran 23 Full-Back
14John Porch 22 Winger
13Thomas Farrell Centre
12Bundee Aki Centre
11Mack Hansen Winger 13'
10Jack Carty Fly-Half 60'
9Caolin Blade 21 Scrum-Half
1Denis Buckley 17 Prop
2Dave Heffernan 16 Hooker
3Finlay Bealham 18 Prop
4Josh Murphy Lock
5Niall Murray 19 Lock
6Shamus Hurley-Langton Flanker 59'
7Conor Oliver 20 Flanker 40'
8Cian Prendergast Lock
16Dylan Tierney-Martin 2 Hooker
17Jordan Duggan 1 Prop
18Jack Aungier 3 Prop
19Oisin Dowling 5 Flanker
20Jarrad Butler 7 No. 8
21Kieran Marmion 9 Scrum-Half
22Tom Daly 14 Centre
23Byron Ralston 15 Winger 75'

Past Meetings

(Round 2)
38 - 15
United Rugby Championship
Cape Town Stadium

DHL Stormers v Connacht

(Round 10)
19 - 17
United Rugby Championship
The Sportsgrounds

Connacht v DHL Stormers


Cape Town Stadium
Cape Town Stadium, South Forecourt, Cape Town Ward 115, Cape Town, City of Cape Town, Western Cape, 8005, South Africa