Stormers player ratings: Damian Willemse and Manie Libbok struggle to fire in URC final loss

David Skippers
Damian Willemse for Stormers

After their 19-14 defeat to Munster in the United Rugby Championship (URC) final at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town, here’s how we rated the Stormers.

15 Damian Willemse: Not his best day at the office as he battled under the high ball and was guilty of some handling errors on attack, especially during the opening period. Showed some deft touches with ball in hand, especially in tandem with Manie Libbok, but could not breach Munster’s defence. 5

14 Angelo Davids: Had few attacking opportunities and when he did receive the ball he made little headway as the defence kept him in check. Also caught out on defence on a few occasions. 5

13 Ruan Nel: Was a willing ball carrier but made little impact in that department as the Munster defence stopped him in his tracks with accurate defensive work. He did his bit on defence but not enough to keep the visitors at bay. 6

12 Dan du Plessis: Was industrious throughout on attack and defence and was arguably the Stormers‘ best player. Made good defensive decisions, especially when Malakai Fekitoa was on the rampage in the opening half and also had some good attacking moments. 7

11 Leolin Zas: Like fellow wing Davids, he too was caught out of position on defence on some occasions but looked lively on attack. He did not execute accurately with ball in hand though and was caught in possession on several occasions. 5

Half-backs struggled to fire

10 Manie Libbok: Scored a well-taken try early on but failed to stamp his authority on this match behind a retreating pack, especially during the first half. Came back strongly in the second period but did not show off his vast array of skills as Munster did well to halt his attacking momentum. 6

9 Herschel Jantjies: Not a night to remember for the Springbok scrum-half. Found himself on the back foot for most of the first half which led to poor option taking and box kicking which put his team under tremendous pressure. Showed improvement after half-time but eventually replaced by Paul de Wet in the 66th minute. 4

8 Evan Roos: Was yellow carded for a cynical defensive foul close to his try-line in the first half and Munster managed to score a try while he was off the field. Found himself in space down the right wing in the 65th minute after running onto a pass from Willemse but lost his balance on the slippery surface at the crucial moment. 5

7 Hacjivah Dayimani: With this match being an arm wrestle, he did not make his usual impact in the wide channels and was restricted mostly to a defensive role. Yanked off in the 49th minute with Ben-Jason Dixon coming on to replace him. 4

6 Deon Fourie: Like Dayimani, he too had little influence on this game as he was neutralised at the breakdowns but got stuck in when executing his defensive duties and managed to score the Stormers second try. Replaced by Willie Engelbrecht midway through the second half. 5

5 Marvin Orie: Returned to the Stormers’ starting line-up – along with Fourie – after injury but although he toiled manfully, he was not effective in the bigger scheme of things. Played the entire match and won his fair share of lineout balls but did not impress in other areas. 5

4 Ruben van Heerden: Like his second-row partner he was in the thick of the action and he can be proud of his efforts as he emptied the tank. Was the Stormers’ go-to man in the lineouts and gave his all at the coalface of their forward effort. 7

3 Frans Malherbe: Was his usual steady self in the tight exchanges, while also catching the eye with some strong carries at close quarters and solid defensive work as well. Replaced in the 62nd minute by Neethling Fouche. 6

2 Joseph Dweba: Was one of the Stormers’ main ball carriers but he did not make much of an impact in that department. He was accurate with his throw-ins at the lineouts but replaced by JJ Kotze on the hour-mark. 6

1 Steven Kitshoff: The Stormers captain played his heart out during a brave 71 minute stint in his final encounter for the men from the Cape. Led his troops well and put his body on the line on defence and attack. 6

Replacements: The Stormers bench brought plenty of energy with De Wet, Dixon and Engelbrecht catching the eye with solid performances but it wasn’t to be in the end. 7

READ MORE: Munster player ratings: John Hodnett rises to the occasion in URC title success