Munster survive Stormers’ second-half onslaught
Cape team go down fighting in rainswept Limerick
Munster made it four out of four against the Stormers as they held on in the face of a strong physical effort from their opponents in inclement conditions at Thomond Park to clinch a 10-3 United Rugby Championship (URC) win.
It was a repeat of 2022’s final and a similar result, though the Stormers might have felt they had a stronger claim to get at least a draw in this return game.
However, it was another frustrating night for them as they failed to capitalise on their dominance in the second half, particularly in the third quarter.
Evan Roos, who produced a barnstorming performance and would surely have been the man of the match had the Cape team won, was over the line twice but was held up.
And then there were the little irritating errors that have become too much of a trend for the Stormers this season, such as Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu kicking too long from a hard-earned scrum penalty in the 68th minute.
What Munster were doing well at that point was to make sure the Stormers were pinned in their own half and they desperately needed the field position that would have come their way had Feinberg-Mngomezulu got the ball out.
Instead, it went out over the dead ball line so it was Munster’s scrum deep in the Stormers half.
In the end it was a six-minute siege of the Stormers’ line from attacking line-outs that came from penalties leading up to halftime that won the game for the hosts.
Munster were leading 3-0 at the time in a game that was mostly being played in the middle of the field and it was their decision not to kick for posts, but rather set up field position, from a penalty that worked for them.
Referee Sam Grove-White had to warn the Stormers on a few occasions for infringements in defending the Munster drive and then, after the warning after the third penalty, he reached into his pocket and banished Stormers captain Neethling Fouche for 10 minutes.
It was straight after Fouche left the field that Munster capitalised through a try from lock Edwin Edogbo, and with the conversion it meant the URC champions took a 10-0 lead into halftime.
To be fair, though the Stormers had been abrasive and physical, mostly in their defensive work, they did not look like scoring themselves in that first half, which was blighted by wet conditions.
Their one opportunity was a penalty kick lined up by Feinberg-Mngomezulu in the 18th minute but the rain seemed to intensify as he missed the attempt.
Feinberg-Mngomezulu was on target in the second half from in front of the posts during a long period of sustained Stormers pressure to make it a seven-point game, but try as they might — and they did have several opportunities — their dominance at forward after halftime did not pay off in terms of points.
One big plus for the Stormers on the night was their scrumming, with Munster pretty much being destroyed in that phase on occasion, and the introduction of former Lions loose head Sti Sithole to the mix appeared to pay off quite handsomely.
Munster 10 — Try: Edwin Edogbo; Conversion: Jack Crowley; penalty: Jack Crowley.
Stormers 3 — Penalty: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.
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