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Stormers hold on to beat Leinster in URC nail-biter in Cape Town, but drop to 4th on table

Max O’Reilly of Leinster is tackled by Leolin Zas and Hacjivah Dayimani of the Stormers during their United Rugby Championship match at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday

Max O’Reilly of Leinster is tackled by Leolin Zas and Hacjivah Dayimani of the Stormers during their United Rugby Championship match at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Apr 30, 2022

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Cape Town — The Stormers produced a spirited second-half display to defeat Leinster 20-13 in their United Rugby Championship bout at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.

The Stormers had a late change to their starting line-up, with Paul de Wet in for Herschel Jantjies. The Springbok scrumhalf hadn’t recovered in time from a hand injury. The Stormers, however, were in no way poorer for it, as De Wet put in another strong shift on the day.

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It took no more than 30 seconds for the hosts to get real busy. Getting the ball on the halfway line, Warrick Gelant cut through before getting the ball to Ruhan Nel on his outside, but the try was disallowed due to obstruction upon review.

From there on, the Stormers — who have now won their last eight games at home — looked threatening at times, but neither side managed to get over the try line.

The Stormers got some points in the 15th minute after winning a breakdown penalty in front of the posts, with Manie Libbok slotting it over. The visitors got back two minutes later through Giaran Frawley’s boot (3-3). They made it 3-6 at the end of the opening quarter.

The Stormers were on a mission after coming out of the shed and, after some solid work from their forwards, the ever-entertaining Gelant touched down in the corner to go 8-6 up.

Dobson’s charges barged into Leinster’ in-goal thrice after that - with Seabelo Senatla, Hacjivah Dayimani and Gelant all coming into contact with the whitewash — but they didn’t get anything from it, with Senatla’s foot being in touch, Dayimani held up and Gelant losing the ball forward.

While their lineout wasn’t at its best in the first half, their scrum couldn’t be faulted, and the men in blue and white finally got their second try after the ball was worked wide after a strong scrum and quick work by De Wet. This time, there was no denying the former Sevens superstar (13-6).

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Leinster drew level after going over for a converted try with 20 minutes to go (13-13).

The Stormers backs were constantly threatening out wide, but their forwards refused to be outshined with a few superb mauls.

After a kick-pass by Libbok saw Evan Roos almost adding his name to the scoresheet, the Stormers drove Leinster back after the resulting lineout, and they put on another display of mauling power after getting into the Irish side’s 22. Leinster’s set-piece infringement saw the Cape side regain the lead with a penalty try (20-13) after the Irish pulled it down.

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A tense final couple of minutes saw the ref’s hand go the way of Leinster, but the Stormers held out to seal the deal.

Despite the result, Leinster remain in the top spot, while the Stormers drop to fourth behind Munster and the Sharks with one league game remaining.

Point scorers:

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Stormers 20 — Tries: Warrick Gelant, Seabelo Senatla, Penalty Try; Penalty: Manie Libbok

Leinster 13 — Try: Ed Byrne; Conversion: Cairns Frawley; Penalties: Frawley (2)

@WynonaLouw

IOL Sport

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