Date Time Competition Season
27 May 2023 5:30 pm United Rugby Championship 2022/23

Match Report

Hodnett Ends Munster’s Long Wait For Silverware

Munster’s 12 year long wait for a Trophy has come to an end, John Hodnett crossing late to see them beat the Stormers in the URC Final this evening.

Munster once again showed incredible resilience to grab the late try and put in another solid defence to keep the Stormers out for large spells, despite Manie Libbok grabbing an early try, they remained composed to never let the game slip past them.

Finishing with 14 men as Jack Crowley went to the bin, they held out and a big turnover late on was enough to see them hold out and be crowned URC Champions,

A frantic start to the game in Cape Town, Munster were penalised early at the breakdown, allowing Libbok to kick down field, they mauled well but Mike Haley gathered a kick over the top before Munster had the safety of a lineout.

It was a nice passage of play from the Irish province as they were working the ball around the midfield, but Antonine Frisch played a pass that was poor out of a tackle, allowing Libbok the chance to collect, Munster had no bodies back, allowing the Stormers out-half all the freedom to race home and score the opening try after six minutes, a tap over conversion bringing the full seven.

Jack Crowley punished the Stormers straying offside with a massive penalty that landed just before the flag, from the lineout, Munster mauled their way to the line, getting ever so close, the referee blowing for a penalty as Libbok went offside.

From the penalty, the forwards pumped the legs once again to drive at the South African side, with Diarmuid Barron getting the touchdown for Munster’s opening try after 10 minutes, Crowley unable to level the game, his conversion tailed left and wide.

The possession was all with the Irish side in the early minutes if the opening half, they looked to make a gap but Shane Daly ran out of space and went into touch, they turned on the pressure as the Stormers tried to clear but Tadhg Beirne was penalised at the lineout for obstructing the tacklers after lifting.

Despite winning the penalty, the hosts did little with it and through a tremendous Conor Mrrau box kick, Munster had the ball back almost to half way as Daly had the ball in his grasp, from their Barron and Peter O’Mahony both made ground, before Crowley danced and weaved through the Stormers line getting shy of the try line.

Evan Ross then strayed offside as Munster were five shy, play brought back and the number 8 was sent to the bin, pressure remained from the visitors as they bashed their way to attempt to get over, Gavin Coombes felt he had grounded, the onfield decision was a try, but the referee had to go upstairs.

Following extensive deliberations, the referee disallowed the try, the tackle complete stating Coombes made a second movement, before grounding the ball and Munster would have to go again as the Stormers could breathe with a penalty.

Stormers applied pressure as they forced Munster into clearing from their 22, they then attempted to breach in the short side but Calvin Nash produced a big hit to drive a Stromers man into touch.

Munster would have a second try ruled out after 24 minutes, Frisch getting over to score, but on the replay it showed Shane Daly had knocked the ball on the line before his teammate crossed for the score, two minutes later their third try was ruled out for a forward pass by Peter O’Mahony, as Mike Haley crossed in the corner the replay’s showed O’Mahony’s offload was ahead of his teammate.

The try would come however just on the half hour mark and it was a thing of absolute beauty, Crowley with a big crossfield kick to the right wing destined for Nash, the bounce doing enough to deceive the Stormers tackler as Nash could gather and get over to score. Patience paying off for that try, they had the ball for over a dozen phases and smart decision making from Crowley sent them into a 12-7 lead, following the conversion.

A strong defensive shape from the visitors was limiting the output for Stormers as they were struggling to come back in the tie, O’Mahony was taken off with a HIA, after an incident in the ruck.

Munster started to make mistakes in the dying minutes of the half, Nash kicked out on the full, Coombes went off his feet at the breakdown, allowing Libbok a penalty into the Munster 22.

The Stormers had another solid lineout bringing them 5m form the line, they were putting everything at Munster, but a super turnover by Barron saw Munster regain possession and Conor Murray thumped it to the 22. Murray was offside as Stormers went again but another huge effort in defence saw them turn it over and kick for touch to end the half.

With just three minutes gone in the second half, Stormers had the chance to make it a two point game, as Munster infringed at the breakdown, but Libbok struck to the right of the posts.

Stormers kept the pressure on, squeezing Munster into making mistakes, the bind changing in the maul and Libbok kicked to touch from the penalty, from a big passage of play Haley went to the bin Munster living on a knife edge in defence, Angelo Davids raced from half way but Haley committed a professional foul and Stormers had another penalty to find ground.

Next it was Crowley to commit a misdemeanour as he fell on the wrong side of a tackle, this penalty would be a hammer blow for Munster, Stormers mauled well and barged over with Deon Fourie grounding, Libbok putting them two ahead after 50 minutes.

Now the visitors had to spring a reply, but struggled in attack, they won a penalty in the 22 and opted for the corner, that came to nothing as Jeremey Loughman was penalised for obstruction.

Minutes later Munster ran from their own line but the Stormers did enough to defend, the play halting after RG Snyman offloaded forward, Munster lived dangerously when Ben Healy’s cross field kick attempt landed to Dan du Plessis, he kicked behind on the full.

Then Libbok went for a grubber kick to try to get behind Munster but Nash was calm and composed to touch down for a goal line drop out. 

Munster remained composed however, despite some mistakes, rewarded with a try after 75 minutes, a massive score, one they were running for time as they worked it all over the Stormers half of the field, with the back row getting over in the corner, Crowley converting a five point lead with four minutes remaining.

DHL Stormers


15Mike Haley Full-Back 48'
14Calvin Nash Winger 29'
13Antoine Frisch 22 Centre
12Malakai Fekitoa Centre
11Shane Daly Winger
10Jack Crowley Fly-Half 30', 77'
9Conor Murray 21 Scrum-Half
1Jeremy Loughman 17 Prop
2Diarmuid Barron 16 Hooker 10'
3Stephen Archer 18 Prop
4Jean Kleyn 20 Lock
5Tadhg Beirne Lock
6Peter O’Mahony 19 Flanker
7John Hodnett Flanker 76'
8Gavin Coombes No. 8
16Niall Scannell 2 Hooker
17Josh Wycherley 1 Prop
18Roman Salanoa 3 Prop
19RG Snyman 6 Lock
20Alex Kendellen 4 Flanker
21Craig Casey 9 Scrum-Half
22Ben Healy 13 Fly-Half
23Keith Earls Winger

Past Meetings

(Round 17)
24 - 26
United Rugby Championship
Cape Town Stadium

DHL Stormers v Munster

(Round 2)
34 - 18
United Rugby Championship
Thomond Park

Munster 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

Diarmuid Kearney is a freelance Sports Journalist based in Co Kerry. He has more than 5 years experience covering domestic and international soccer for different media organisations, while also working for local and national print and digital organisations covering GAA.