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Ulster unable to hold on as Stormers battle back for victory in Cape Town

By PA
Western Cape , South Africa - 30 March 2024; Steven Kitshoff of Ulster attempts to get past Hacjivah Dayimani of DHL Stormers during the United Rugby Championship match between DHL Stormers and Ulster at DHL Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo By Shaun Roy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster were unable to hold out in a desperate rearguard action as DHL Stormers came from behind to triumph 13-7 in Cape Town.

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A Nick Timoney try meant the Irish province led from the seventh until the 74th minute, at which point number eight Evan Roos rewarded his side’s complete dominance in the second-half by rounding off a maul.

What the score lacked in artistry it made up for in importance as for all their control after their interval, the 2022 champions wasted chance after chance through self-inflicted errors.

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The Stormers’ defence looked heavy legged when it was exposed in the seventh minute by a simple attack that saw Nathan Doak slip Timoney between two tacklers for an easy run in.

Manie Libbok missed successive penalties and to mirror his difficulties, scrum-half John Cooney followed suit for Ulster despite both his attempts being in very kickable positions.

Match Summary

2
Penalty Goals
0
1
Tries
1
1
Conversions
1
0
Drop Goals
0
89
Carries
82
6
Line Breaks
5
20
Turnovers Lost
11
2
Turnovers Won
4

The visitors had dominated every aspect of the first half yet entered the interval with only a 7-0 lead and when play restarted they came under significant pressure, their work at the breakdown helping to keep the Stormers at bay.

Number eight Roos almost finished a sweeping move but he knocked on inches short due to the attention of Ulster effective scramble defence.

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The Stormers won a scrum penalty and Libbok was finally off the mark but then a maul that was creeping over the whitewash ended because of a knock on in the dewy conditions.

As the match entered the final quarter, Ulster still led but were creaking amid relentless pressure with David McCann’s departure to the sin-bin adding to their problems.

The Stormers launched their backline at speed only for yet another handling error to intervene and they were unable to score a point when McCann was off the pitch.

But the decisive score finally came in the 75th minute when Roos crashed over the line from a line-out maul with Libbok nailing a tricky conversion and then adding an overtime penalty.

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Comments

1 Comment
F
Flankly 114 days ago

It’s not about “holding out”. You need to be in the 20 point range to talk about holding out.

The story of the game is that Ulster could not get any other points beyond the first half try. The probability that this Stormers side would finish with less than 7 points is roughly zero.

Ulster defense was fantastic, but they really struggled to score. And you seldom win games with a score of 7.

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