Stormers player ratings v Connacht: Manie Libbok special, Angelo Davids, comes of age

Stormers’ Angelo Davids scores a try during their United Rugby Championship semi-final against Connacht at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town. Photo: Nic Bothma/BackpagePix

Stormers’ Angelo Davids scores a try during their United Rugby Championship semi-final against Connacht at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town. Photo: Nic Bothma/BackpagePix

Published May 13, 2023


Cape Town — They were missing Deon Fourie and Marvin Orie, but the Stormers produced some magical moments in Saturday’s 43-25 semi-final win over Connacht to advance to a second consecutive United Rugby Championship final.

The defending champions scored six scintillating tries in front of more than 46 000 people at the Cape Town Stadium to give themselves a real chance of defending their title.

Here are our Stormers player ratings…

Damian Willemse: 8

The Springbok star shrugged off a few early errors to again dovetail superbly with Manie Libbok in giving the Stormers direction on attack, while covering a lot of ground in defence. Always a threat with his offloads.

Angelo Davids: 9

The former Blitzbok star came of age in this game. Apart from a good catch of Libbok’s cross-kick for the opening Stormers try, Davids’ work-rate was outstanding. He was a menace with ball-in-hand, carving up the Connacht defence, while he made some timely tackles as well.

Ruhan Nel: 8

He did well to lead the Stormers defensive line and shut down the Connacht attack for much of the game. Showed what a tireless operator he is by being on hand to claim Hacjivah Dayimani’s terrific offload to score the final try.

Dan du Plessis: 8

He had another busy outing, carrying the ball strongly up the middle and making several tackles in midfield. Added good width to the Stormers backline, with the stand-out moment being his long pass inside his 22 to Nel in the lead-up to Paul de Wet’s try.

Leolin Zas: 8

The left wing is playing just his second game after a lengthy injury, but you wouldn’t think it. A ball of energy whenever he gets the ball, Zas is as sharp as ever – almost always making ground on attack. Got his timing just right to put De Wet over for a try.

Manie Libbok: 10

Yes, there were errors, but the Stormers flyhalf proved once and for all that he must be part of the Springbok World Cup squad with a special performance.

Libbok just has that magical touch, whether it’s with a kick, pass, line-break or putting his left boot to good use.

He dealt well with a pumping wind throughout, and scored two tries as well for good measure, which included the ‘second-best’ touchdown in the 28th minute.

Herschel Jantjies: 7

He provided a solid service to Libbok and the Stormers backline, and cleaned up a few scrappy situations caused by a competitive Connacht outfit.

Evan Roos: 7

The big No 8 gave as good as he got from the Connacht pack, making some strong runs at close quarters. Was also involved in a scuffle that broke out between the two packs.

Hacjivah Dayimani: 9

That offload alone gives the Stormers No 7 an extra point! Dayimani was an ever alert presence when the home side were going forward, and he underlined his performance with two try-scoring passes in the last three minutes – including the back-of-the-hand one for Nel to dot down.

Willie Engelbrecht: 7

He never shirked his physical responsibilities, although not quite the same breakdown presence as the injured Deon Fourie. High work-rate in defence with 21 tackles, according to the official URC website.

Ruben van Heerden: 7

With Marvin Orie out, Van Heerden had to run the line-outs, and did an admirable job as the Stormers had enough possession to run Connacht ragged at times.

Ben-Jason Dixon: 6

More of a blind-side flank, Dixon did the hard yards as a No 4 lock, and never stopped working in the tight loose, with Connacht enjoying 71% of the possession.

Frans Malherbe: 6

He conceded an early penalty in the scrums, although he may have been hard done by as it looked as if he had slipped. Kept hitting rucks and making his tackles for the hour he was on the pitch.

Joseph Dweba: 7

The strong wind may have made him a worried man before kick-off, but Dweba did a good job with his line-out-throwing, especially considering that Orie wasn’t on the field either. Made some strong runs too.

Steven Kitshoff (captain): 7

The Stormers captain produced a typically blood-and-guts performance. He tried hard to slow down Connacht’s ball at the breakdowns in the absence of Fourie.

Best Off The Bench: Paul de Wet: 8

Lifted the Stormers’ attacking tempo in the final quarter, and scored a vital try in the 65th minute to stretch the lead to 31-20.


Stormers 43 – Tries: Angelo Davids, Manie Libbok (2), Paul de Wet, Marcel Theunissen, Ruhan Nel. Conversions: Libbok (5). Penalty: Libbok (1).

Connacht 25 – Tries: Mack Hansen, Conor Oliver, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Byron Rolston. Conversion: Jack Carty (1). Penalty: Carty (1).


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