OPINION: Many thought the Stormers just needed to turn up at the Cape Town Stadium to retain the title but a failure to hit their straps in attack cost the reigning champions against an underdog Munster side that refused to go away.
15. Damian Willemse – 6
Put under pressure from a well-executed Munster kicking game but burst into life in the second half. Had some good kicks out of hand and attempted to spark the backline, but it ultimately it wasn’t enough.
14. Angelo Davids – 5
Had limited opportunities to make an impact in attack due to Munster’s first-half dominance. Couldn’t showcase his full potential in this game, with the men in red marshalling him well. Showed good rugby IQ to successfully milk a few penalties off Italian referee Andrea Piardi but his failure to stop John Hodnett was potentially a championship losing error.
13. Ruhan Nel – 5
Munster found plenty of change in the Stormers’ centrefield and Nel wasn’t without sin in this department. Got turned over too when Stormers could scarcely afford it.
12. Dan du Plessis – 6
Showed a defensive fallibility at times and even if he made some important tackles on the backfoot. Tried to inject himself into the attack but struggled to find the necessary space and opportunities. Still, his strategic kicking and level head proved effective for the home side.
11. Leolin Zas – 5
Was pretty anonymous for much of the game, unable to make a significant impact in attack. Contributed defensively but lacked the chances to showcase his attacking prowess. Had a better second half in which he harried the Munster defence with his kick chase.
10. Manie Libbok – 7
A brilliant start for the URC MVP, who raced away with an intercept but had a challenging first half after that as Munster began to dominate, getting caught out wide for Calvin Nash’s reception from a Jack Crowley crossfield kick. Showed glimpses of his attacking skills but maybe lacked consistency and struggled to break through the opposition’s defence in the way we’ve been used to seeing from him for much of the season.
9. Herschel Jantjies – 6
Some questionable decision-making at times, but had some good moments with quick snipes around the ruck and provided decent service to the backs.
1. Steven Kitshoff – 7
Acted as an additional back row, the ginger-haired skipper led the team well and put in a solid performance in the scrums. Made his presence felt in the loose with some strong carries and tackles and can now head to Ulster disappointed but with his head held high.
2. Joseph Dweba – 5.5
A mixed bag from mercurial hooker. Had a solidish game in the line-outs and showed some good physicality in the loose. However, could have been more effective in his ball-carrying and support play, botching a few opportunities.
3. Frans Malherbe – 6
The World Cup winner didn’t get into Jermey Loughman in the way many might have expected, but was active in defense, making some crucial tackles and contributing to the breakdowns.
4. Ruben van Heerden – 5
Worked hard in the set-pieces and showed good athleticism in the line-outs. Could have been more involved in open play and made a bigger impact with his carries.
5. Marvin Orie – 6
A couple of loose moments in terms of discipline but the modestly sized lock was a supreme force at the line-out. Didn’t offer much in terms of ball-carrying, however, and could have potentially been more dynamic around the field.
6. Deon Fourie – 7.5
Was an industrious presence in the loose, making himself busy with tackles and breakdown work. Showed good work rate throughout the game and provided valuable support to his teammates and deserved his try in the 49th minute.
7. Hacjivah Dayimani – 6
One of the standout performers for the Stormers this season but didn’t have it all his own way here, coughing up the ball on at least one occasion. Wasn’t the effective weapon in attack that we are used to seeing.
8. Evan Roos – 7
His battle against Munster No.8 Coombes was a brilliant sub-plot to proceedings in Cape Town. He earned a questionable yellow in the first half but made his presence felt on both sides of the ball, contributing to the team’s defensive efforts.
Replacements – 5
Very little by way of impact offered by John Dobson’s bench. The Stormers needed a touch of magic in attack and it didn’t come from the sidelines.