Munster end 12-year wait for silverware as they dethrone Stormers in URC final

Munster are the 2022/23 URC champions after beating the DHL Stormers in Cape Town in Saturday’s final.

John Hodnett was the hero (and man of the match) with his late try enough for a 19-14 win over the defending champions.

And it was a well deserved win for Munster who had a number of tries ruled out as they ended a 12-year wait for silverware in their first season under Graham Rowntree. 

The several thousand Munster fans who made the long journey to South Africa had plenty of cause to be in full voice from the outset as the Reds got on top from the start and completed a remarkable sequence of results after being away from home for the closing six matches of the season.

The reigning champions got a glorious start when out-half Manie Libbok intercepted a pass from Antoine Frisch to run in a try from deep after six minutes, which the Springbok converted for a 7-0 lead.

But Munster got back in contention with a try off a lineout, when they got the drive after a take from Tadhg Beirne before hooker Diarmuid Barron got over. Jack Crowley was narrowly off target with the touchline conversion from the left.

Then a superbly weighted crosskick from Crowley bounced kindly for Calvin Nash to race in and score, with Crowley’s conversion making it 12-7 at the break.

Munster lost Haley to a yellow card shortly after the break after he was adjudged to have fouled Angelo Davids, with Stormers scoring off a lineout shortly afterwards when Deon Fourie got over, with Libbok’s conversion making it 14-12 after 50 minutes.

But it was Munster who had the resolve in the closing stages to push on and claim their trophy when they piled on the pressure and a move which culminated in Craig Casey, Crowley, Haley and Shane Daly creating the opening was ended with Hodnett scoring in the left corner to edge Munster 17-14 in front.

Crowley then landed the difficult conversion from the left to ensure Stormers needed a try in the closing stages, but that never looked like materialising despite a couple of penalties to either corner with Munster, who lost Crowley to a late yellow card, securing the title when Beirne forced a superb turnover inside his own 22 to spark off great celebrations with the first silverware since 2011.

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