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Leinster 'Light' fall to Stormers but secure URC top ranking

By PA
Player of the match Alex Soroka of Leinster wears a Ukranian flag as he is consoled by teammates David Hawkshaw and Thomas Clarkson after the United Rugby Championship match between DHL Stormers and Leinster at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster confirmed their place as top seeds in the United Rugby Championship quarter-finals despite being beaten 20-13 by the Stormers in Cape Town.

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A losing bonus point means that Leinster cannot be caught at the top as they guaranteed themselves a home play-off.

The Stormers are also well-placed for a home tie and they were good value for their victory.

Second-half tries by full-back Warrick Gelant and wing Seabelo Senatla put the Stormers in charge, before a penalty try sealed victory.

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Leinster had two players sin-binned during the second period, yet they were level after an hour following prop Ed Byrne’s try that Harry Byrne converted, while Ciaran Frawley kicked two earlier penalties.

The Stormers, nine points behind Leinster before kick-off, thought they had gone ahead inside 60 seconds, but centre Ruhan Nel’s touchdown was disallowed for obstruction.

It was an early warning sign for the visitors, though, and they fell behind when Manie Libbok landed a 15th-minute penalty.

Leinster needed to find a way into the game, and they managed it on the back of some outstanding work by number eight Rhys Ruddock, before two Frawley penalties put them 6-3 ahead.

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And that proved the end of the scoring during an attritional opening 40 minutes when the Leinster forwards gave as good as they got to leave their hosts frustrated.

The Stormers, though, had hinted at prising open Leinster’s defence before half-time, and they duly stung their opponents with two tries in eight minutes during the third quarter.

The home side were helped by having a temporary one-man advantage when Leinster hooker John McKee was sin-binned for collapsing a maul, but they took maximum advantage.

Gelant crossed for the first score after 45 minutes, then Senatla emulated him as the Stormers opened up a seven-point lead.

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It was a worrying period in the game for Leinster, yet they hit back impressively, drawing level on the hour after sustained forward pressure ended with Ed Byrne going over for a try and Harry Byrne converting.

But they were only level for six minutes as referee Craig Evans awarded the Stormers a penalty try after Leinster collapsed a maul and scrum-half Cormac Foley received a yellow card.

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