Cape Town – It was not to be the fairytale ending for departing captain Steven Kitshoff as the Stormers went down 19-14 to Munster in Saturday night’s United Rugby Championship final at Cape Town Stadium.
Munster seemed to play with greater hunger as the Irish visitors grabbed their first trophy in 12 years to deny the defending champions their second title in a row.
Here are our Stormers player ratings…
Damian Willemse: 5
Had a difficult night under the high ball as Munster scrumhalf Conor Murray’s box-kicking was outstanding, but the Springbok star still tried to get the Stormers attack going from the back and outside the centres.
Angelo Davids: 5
Didn’t get many opportunities to have a go at Munster, but ran straight at defenders most of the time instead of trying to use his pace and stepping skills. Stood his ground on defence, but the Irish side were able to find space out wide too.
Ruhan Nel: 6
As the defence organiser, wouldn’t have been happy with how Munster were able to create space and hit gaps with ball-in-hand, and had his hands full in trying to mark the dynamic Malakai Fekitoa. Worked hard going forward, but wasn’t really able to cut through the Munster defence.
Dan du Plessis: 6
Ran some good angles with ball-in-hand, and linked well with the rest of the backline a couple of times. Was a strong tackler too.
Leolin Zas: 6
Chased the Stormers kicks all night, but didn’t get many opportunities with ball-in-hand.
Manie Libbok: 5
Did well to read the play and snatch an intercept try early on. Had some good moments, but was indecisive at times when clearing his lines, with a couple of kicks charged-down. Also missed a penalty at goal, and wasn’t able to spark the Stormers attack like he did in the quarter-final and semi-final.
Herschel Jantjies: 5
Wasn’t as energetic as in the last two games in clearing from the base, with the Munster pressure at the breakdowns making his life difficult. Couldn’t match Conor Murray’s precision with his box-kicks.
Evan Roos: 7
Despite his first-half yellow card, the powerful No 8 was the best Stormers player on the night as he ran hard at the Munster defence around the rucks and out wide, and was a menace at the breakdowns.
Hacjivah Dayimani: 6
Tried hard to provide some cut and thrust with ball-in-hand, but was closely marked by the Munster defence.
Deon Fourie: 6
Did well to slow down Munster’s ball at times, and was always a willing ball-carrier.
Marvin Orie: 7
Was a smooth operator in the lineouts, winning his fair share and making the correct calls. Also busy in the tight-loose.
Ruben van Heerden: 6
Never gave up in the physical battle as a ball-carrier and defender, and was solid in the lineouts.
Frans Malherbe: 7
Despite the heavy underfoot conditions, the Springbok tighthead prop threw his body around in defence, and made a number of carries at close quarters for about an hour.
Joseph Dweba: 7
Was accurate in the lineouts against a Munster pack who are experts at competing in the air, and got stuck in on attack and defence as well.
Steven Kitshoff (captain): 6
The Stormers skipper produced a typical blood-and-guts performance, hitting rucks, carrying hard around the fringes, tackling all night long and contesting the breakdowns.
Best Off The Bench: Paul de Wet – 7
Brought some much-needed spark to the Stormers attack, keeping the Munster defence busy around the fringes and providing a crisp service to the backs.
Stormers 14 – Tries: Manie Libbok, Deon Fourie. Conversions: Libbok (2).
Munster 19 – Tries: Diarmuid Barron, Calvin Nash, John Hodnett. Conversions: Jack Crowley (2).