The Stormers’ locker room was party central after beating the Bulls in the United Rugby Championship (URC) final on Saturday, 18 June. The Cape Town franchise getting the proverbial monkey off their back, to earn a first title in their 25 years of existence.
It was sweet, sweet revenge for this new generation of Stormers stars. The old foe – the Bulls slain.
Almost immediately after fly-half, Manie Libbok kicked the Stormers into the final, fans reminisced about the heartbreak felt in the Super Rugby final in 2010.
Back then, the Stormers boasted talents like Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana, and Gio Aplon. However, the Bulls had Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez, and Morne Steyn. The latter sealed a third – and second successive Super Rugby title on that night in Soweto.
So, you can imagine the relief and ecstasy felt when Stormer’s centre, Damian Willemse, thumped the ball into the crowd to bring about the final whistle. Earning an 18-13 win and URC glory:
Believe it! The party continued late into the night in Cape Town. Here’s the party kicking off in the changing room:
And things didn’t end there. The Stormers brought the beautiful URC trophy all the way to our studios and gave us goosebumps with this rendition.
The Stormers and the Bulls will meet this weekend in a massive clash in Cape Town, as the United Rugby Championship (URC) will crown its first champions this coming Saturday, 18 July 2022. And a feather in the cap for South Africa. No matter what happens, the URC trophy will find a home in the Southern Hemisphere.
A shaky start
The South African franchises ran into some trouble in the first couple of rounds. According to pundits, our teams would have a write-off year and needed time to adjust. However, when the Springboks returned from international duty, the momentum shifted.
Home ground also held more of an advantage in this, the inaugural season. A large majority of players played in unfamiliar locations with a lesser familiarity with conditions. That was especially problematic for the teams that played in the Highveld for the first time.
But now, nine months on, the only two teams who remain standing in the URC are the Stormers and the Bulls.
North vs South
In North-South derbies, there is rarely much to separate the two sides. It’s always tough, and it’s always physical. Although the Stormers have a decent record against the Bulls in Cape Town, this Bulls team will give it everything they’ve got.
Jake White’s side runs deep in Bulls tradition. Not only do they have sleek attacking prowess, but they also have a massive engine room filled with big boys who like to get under your skin.
To combat that, the Stormers have a collective cool composure about them. There’s an element of maturity to John Dobson’s side.
There is, however, no love lost between these two old adversaries.
It’s a rivalry that dates back to the early days of rugby history in South Africa. Cape Town vs Pretoria. Blue and White vs Baba-Blou. And it’s come down to this. Only one can lift the trophy and usher in a new chapter in South African rugby.
The Stormers have come away with a 23-20 victory over Ulster in their United Rugby Championship (URC) encounter at the DHL stadium. The set of four log points sees the Cape Town side leapfrog the Sharks for 6th place, and now just five points from fourth place. A fourth-place finish, or better, will secure a play-off spot on home turf. The home ground advantage seems to be quite an important thing in this inaugural URC campaign.
A Storming Start
It was the perfect start to the match for the home side, as they went 7-0 up within the first three minutes.
The Irishman seemed shell shocked from the flyer the Stormers got off to. Leolin Zas doubled their lead just four minutes later, running in an easy try following a constant onslaught on the Ulster try line.
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) March 26, 2022
That was the last time the Stormers crossed the opposition try line, as the visitors managed to subdue the attack. They successfully slowed down the pace of the game, frustrating the Capetonians by holding on to possession.
The Stormers also didn’t do themselves any favours. They were sloppy in possession Ill disciplined, which allowed Ulster to get back in the game
The game was far from the flashy style of that in the first 10 minutes. It was Ulster who dictated play. The Stormers were the architects of their own demise, just too sloppy and gifting Ulster possession.
In the end, the Stormers were lucky to come away with the win, but points are points. And points are what the Stormers need for a top-four finish.
The Stormers have another 5-points in the bag after taking down the Cardiff Blues 40-3 in thier United Rugby Championship encounter at the Cape Town Stadium.
Points, Points and more Points
The Stormers need points, and they need all of them, out of every single game. Good thing they turned up in this URC meeting with Cardiff Blues. It’s been a long, gruelling first 80-minutes at the Cape Town stadium, with the sun still baking down on most of the parts of this beautiful ground. the heat clearly something Cardiff haven’t gotten used to.
The hits have been hard, with the clock stopped every so often. The hits were heard all along the ground, keeping some players from both sides on the floor. Still, those hits were not hard enough to blaze the Stormers’ flair. The first half tries were all well-deserved and the Stormers made full use of the half chances.
Ruhan Nel was the first the visit touch-in-goal, running a lovely supportive line and finishing off a basic two-on-one situation.
— Vodacom United Rugby Championship (URC) (@URCOfficial_RSA) March 20, 2022
Liolin Saz showed real strength to fight through a couple of tackles to just dot the ball down on the line.
Manie Libbok put the first half to bed, receiving the ball in space and running in the 5-meters to get within one try of the bonus point.
A tougher second half
Like the game in Stellenbosch this past weekend, the Northern Hemisphere side seemed to come out of the break with a bit more fire in their belly. The first 15-minutes a grind for the Capetonians.
While the Stormers enjoyed the lions’ share of the possession in favourable areas of the field, they just couldn’t find the final touch. They would do all the hard work to get into the 22-area of Cardiff, just to lose the ball.
The Stormers finally added their first set of points 21-minutes into the second half. It Came from broken play as Deon Fourie executed a fantastic turnover, and fed a dangerous Stormers backline with the opposition defensive line in disarray.
Bonus point secured, and then some.
Evan Roos then scored a screamer of a solo try. Breaking through an attempted double tackle, before pinning his ears back to run in a 40-meter try.
The Stormers then started to run riot. Ricus Pretorious one-upped Evan Roos, running off some Seabelo Senatla magic, selling a beautiful dummy, and running in 50-meters to dot down next to the poles.
The Momentum Proteas this morning maintained their unbeaten run at the ICC Woman’s World Cup with a nervy two-wicket victory over the host nation New Zealand in Hamilton.
A Devine Innings
New Zealand captain Sophie Devine won the toss and opted to have a bat first, with the opening batter playing a super innings. Devine was supported by Amelia Kerr (42) and Maddy Green (30), and for a while seemed like the Kiwis were destined to score close to 300.
The 32-year old Devine almost took the game away from South Africa but fell seven-runs short of her seventh WODI century.
Ayabonga Khaka got the major breakthrough, removing Devine. Her departure slowed New Zealand’s scoring dramatically. The Hosts eventually set the Momentum Proteas a target of 229 to chase.
At the top of the South African Woman’s innings, Laura Wolvaardt (67) again produced the goods. She will however be disappointed that, for the fourth game in a row, she couldn’t covert a solid innings into three figures.
Captain Sune Luus also played an inspiring innings, reaching the half-century mark. Luus (51) was removed not too long after reaching the milestone. That brought about some nervy moments for the South Africans.
Luckily the Momentum Proteas could call upon experience to get the win. Veteran player, Marizanne Kapp was left with the responsibility and showed her class while proving that she’s a match-winner yet again. Kapp kept her cool, staying calm to hit the winning runs with just three balls to spare.
Take a bow, Marizanne Kapp 🔥
— ICC Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) March 17, 2022
If you didn’t know it before, you know now. The Momentum Proteas can go all the way at the ICC Woman’s World Cup.
The South Africans will face their biggest test next. They meet the tournament favourites, Australia on Teusday (22 March 2022).