A try four minutes from the end of a pulsating United Rugby Championship (URC) final by Munster flank John Hodnett secured a dramatic 19-14 win for the men from Limerick.
That score ensured Munster ended a 12-year trophy drought in the most thrilling of ways in a match where they should have been out of sight by halftime but ended up winning in the dying embers.
It broke hometown hearts in Cape Town and ended the Stormers reign as champions after they won the inaugural title in 2022. But no one could deny Munster deserved the title, based not only on their performance in the final, but due to their tenacity throughout the campaign.
It was Munster’s second win at the DHL Stadium in six weeks and they remain the only team to win in Cape Town in 18 months. They deserved their win especially as they had to do it the hard way, winning all three knockout games away from home.
They also lost skipper Peter O’Mahony to suspected concussion midway through the first half. No one can say they had it easy.
The Stormers by contrast, once again battled to get into the match and then made most of the running for almost the entire second half. But continuous errors and poor options never allowed the home side to completely break free despite taking a 14-12 lead with half an hour to go and holding it until four minutes from the end.
The match, and the result, is also a boost for the URC as Munster are one of the big names in the global club game and now have silverware to show for it. It also underlined the competitive, cosmopolitan nature of the tournament.
Munster will wonder how they only led by five points at the break after dominating almost every aspect of the game in the first half.
They had 70% possession and nearly as much territory and they made several clean breaks. They found space out wide and forced the
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