Stormers vs Ulster URC in Cape Town

The Stormers celebrate their win. @TheStormers.

Sloppy Stormers leave it late to upend plucky Ulster

A host of Springboks stepped up at just the right time to save the Stormers’ blushes against Ulster at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

Stormers vs Ulster URC in Cape Town

The Stormers celebrate their win. @TheStormers.

The Stormers launched a late fightback to clinch a nervy 13-7 victory over Ulster and keep their perfect home record in tact.

In a proverbial game of two halves, the Stormers perfectly exhibited all the good, bad and ugly they’re capable of.

In the opening stanza, the Stormers were a shadow of the team fans and foes have come to enjoy watching in recent years. Zero cohesion, zero continuity, zero fluidity, zero passion, zero points. It was just 40 minutes of lacklustre running around.

By the point, the Stormers would’ve welcomed the resurrection on the second day if it meant saving them.

The second half was an improved effort, with Ruben van Heerden, Damian Willemse, Suleiman Hartzenberg and substitute Frans Malherbe shining brightest. The introduction of Malherbe in aided the Stormers’ scrum, which had been under pressure severe pressure up until then.


Ulster drew first blood as early as the seventh minute when No 8 Nick Timoney waltzed through the Stormers’ non-existent defence to score his team’s solitary try of the game and Nathan Doak duly converted.

By contrast, Manie Libbok hooked two kick attempts, which did nothing for his visibly waning confidence, as the Stormers went into the break 7-0 down.

The spark finally came from Hartzenberg, whose counter-attack from deep, got them close to the tryline and the crowd inside the stadium on their feet and in full voice. Finally they had something to cheer about, even though nothing came off because Evan Roos had planted the ball well short of the tryline.

But that bit of play set the done for the rest of the half, which was barrage after barrage of Stormers attack against stubborn Ulster defence until the very end.

Ulster won a 5m defensive scrum, pitting Springbok teammates Malherbe and Kitshoff against each other up front. And it would be Malherbe who would win a scrum penalty against the feed, giving Libbok an easy shot at goal from straight in front.

With the scoreline reading 7-3, suddenly it was game on. The Stormers played with renewed hope and the crowd were louder than before.

But it wouldn’t be until the 74th minute when the dam wall finally broke as Evan Roos bulldozed ahead to get the winning score.

Stormers — 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Willie Engelbrecht, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Adre Smith, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Ben Loader.

Ulster — 15 Mike Lowry, 14 Rob Baloucoune, 13 James Hume, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Ethan McIlroy, 10 Nathan Doak, 9 John Cooney, 8 Nick Timoney, 7 David McCann, 6 Matty Rea, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Harry Sheridan, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Rob Herring (captain), 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Tom Stewart, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Cormac Izuchukwu, 20 Marcus Rea, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Jake Flannery, 23 Stewart Moore.

Stormers vs Ulster full time graphic
Stormers vs Ulster full-time score graphic.