Stormers leave it late to down Ulster

Stormers players celebrate the United Rugby Championship (URC) match against Ulster at the Cape Town Stadium.
Stormers players celebrate the United Rugby Championship (URC) match against Ulster at the Cape Town Stadium.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Ulster again took the Stormers to the limit in Cape Town in the United Rugby Championship (URC) and again they came up short. 

A converted maul try and a penalty in the last seven minutes got the Stormers' noses in front but for most of the match it was out of joint. 

The home team won 13-7 at Cape Town Stadium but for most of the match they looked as if they have one eye on next weekend's Champions Cup round of 16 clash against La Rochelle. 

The win moves the Stormers up the points table and by final whistle they occupied fourth spot but that was likely to change before the end of the round. 

Despite again wasting scoring opportunities they deserve kudos for staying in the fight and it was only when No8 Evan Roos scored from a maul with seven minutes to go that they grabbed the lead. 

Earlier they were frustrated. Ulster scrap and contest with gusto and while that often makes for messy contests it is in the trenches that they put their best foot forward.

They very much knocked the home team out of their stride. 

Their handling errors mounted but that was partly testament to the heat, or should that be spoiling hand, Ulster applied throughout. By the 68th minute the Stormers had committed 12 handling errors. 

Ulster held a 7-0 lead at the break but in truth, they should have been further down the road. 

Apart from the start-stop nature of the opening 40 minutes, poor goal kicking also served to undermine both teams. 

While the Stormers boast one of the most cohesive scrumming units in the competition, they did not expect a great amount of traction in that department with Steven Kitshoff now in the opposing scrum. 

Pre-match much was made of Kitshoff coming to grips with his long time comrade in arms Frans Malherbe.

Malherbe however started on the bench as he slowly gets up to speed after a long lay-off. He only made into onto the field in the 50th minute. 

 The Stormers came close in the 53rd minute when David McCann's tackle on Roos proved a try saving effort.

It did however yield the scrum everyone wanted to see as Kitshoff and Malherbe went head-to-head.

Just five metres out from Ulster's tryline it were the Stormers who earned the penalty as Kitshoff was penalised.

Libbok converted the penalty for the Stormers' first points. 

Kitshoff was replaced in the 56th minute but Malherbe continued to show his value right to the end. 

Earlier in Swansea, the Ospreys brought the Lions back to terra firma with a 36-21 win. 

The Lions who won away at Connacht last week were error ridden and the defeat drops them from eighth down to 11th. 

 Handling errors served to blight their effort, with support runners at times over shooting. By the 27th minute they had made six handling errors. 

The Ospreys were also more eagle eyed to opportunity and shot into a 12-0 down by the 18th minute. 

The Lions were handed a shift in momentum when the Ospreys lost a man to the sin bin with half time looming. Lions hooker PJ Botha scored from the back of a driving maul in the 37th minute to get them back into the game. 

 The Lions trailed 15-7 at the break but a yellow card to replacement prop Morgan Naude and an Ospreys try soon after proved a severe body blow to the visitors. 

 Scorers in Cape Town 

 Stormers (13) - Try: Evan Roos. Conversion: Manie Libbok. Penalty: Libbok. 

 Ulster (7) - Try: Nick Timoney. Conversion: John Cooney.