Second half comeback sees the Stormers beat Ulster in Cape Town

Northern province ahead at half-time thanks to Nick Timoney’s try only to succumb to South African power in the final 10 minutes

URC: Stormers 13 Ulster 7

After a week of more turbulence back home, Ulster ended their South Africa tour with another loss though a greatly improved performance from the previous round at the Sharks.

Ulster led for most of the game but were gradually ground down by the home team and though Richie Murphy’s squad came away with a valuable losing bonus point, they have now won just once in their last six games.

After seven minutes of frantic action, Nathan Doak, starting at outhalf, put Nick Timoney through a gaping hole in the Stormers’ defensive line to score following some ambitious Ulster attack. John Cooney had a straightforward conversion.

The Stormers, who were clearly not expecting to have fallen behind, then chose to go for goal from distance following a scrum penalty against Steven Kitshoff on his return home, but Manie Libbok was wide with the attempt.


Shortly afterwards, Libbok took another shot from even further out and, as with his earlier attempt, it tailed off to the left of the sticks. Cooney also missed five minutes later when his much closer penalty struck the upright and the Stormers cleared their lines.

Then, with four minutes left, Ulster secured a scrum penalty – Kitshoff and Tom O’Toole getting on top in this area as the half wore on – but Cooney yet again missed the target this time from range and the half ended with the province leading 7-0.

The Stormers finally produced their first threatening move on Ulster’s line early in the second half, but the ball was lost forward after Joseph Dweba had launched himself and Ulster’s scrum was solid under the sticks, allowing them to clear their lines.

Then some excellent scramble defence denied Evan Roos just short of the line as the Stormers began to crank up the gears.

That, in turn, brought about an Ulster scrum and replacement Francois Malherbe going head-to-head against Springbok teammate Kitshoff.

The result was a penalty to the Stormers which Libbok duly dispatched to finally get the hosts going after 55 minutes. Six minutes later, David McCann was yellow carded after slapping the ball down from an offside position at a breakdown.

A combination of Ulster’s grit and the Stormers’ lack of accuracy ensured that the northern province survived McCann’s absence without conceding any points, though it didn’t last as just after the flanker had come back on the field, Stormers won a penalty which they put to the corner.

From the ensuing maul, Evan Roos got the score to put the Stormers in front for the first time with just seven minutes left.

Libbok converted and the South Africans led 10-7. Ulster needed to respond but couldn’t and the contest ended with a scrum penalty going against the province under the sticks. Libbok called for the tee and slotted the kick with the clock in the red.

Stormers: W Gelant; S Hartzenberg, D du Plessis, D Willemse, L Zas; M Libbok, P de Wet; B Harris, J Dweba, N Fouche; S Moerat (capt), R van Heerden; W Engelbrecht, H Dayimani, E Roos.

Replacements: JJ Kotze for Dweba (50 mins), L Lyons for Harris (62 mins), F Malherbe for Fouche (50 mins), A Smith for Moerat (62 mins), B Jason-Dixon for Engelbrecht (50 mins), M Theunissen Dayimani (62 mins), H Jantjies for De Wet (55 mins), B Loader for Du Plessis (56 mins).

Ulster: M Lowry; R Baloucoune, J Hume, S McCloskey, E McIlroy; N Doak, J Cooney; S Kitshoff, R Herring (capt), T O’Toole; H Sheridan, K Treadwell; Matty Rea, D McCann, N Timoney.

Replacements: S Moore for Lowry (9 mins), T Stewart for Herring (56 mins), A Warwick for Kitshoff (56 mins), S Wilson for O’Toole (56 mins), C Izuchukwu for Treadwell (55 mins), Marcus Rea for Matty Rea (72 mins).

Unused: D Shanahan, J Flannery.

Yellow card: McCann (60 mins)