THROWBACK: The drama of the inaugural URC Grand Final in Cape Town

Dylan Coetzee
THROWBACK The drama of the inaugural URC Grand Final in Cape Town

The second season of the United Rugby Championship (URC) has reached its business end, with only two teams remaining to battle it out for glory.

Whilst much of the second season has differed from the first, the URC II Grand Final returns to Cape Town again as defending champions the Stormers host red-hot Munster.

The decisive clash is looming large, and with that in mind, Planet Rugby takes a look at the drama that unfolded in the inaugural URC Grand Final between the Stormers and Bulls.

Circumstances leading into the final

The situation allowing the final to be in Cape Town is not too dissimilar to last season, where an upset over Leinster in Dublin opened the door for the Stormers to host the showpiece.

Last year it was a near-perfect performance from the Bulls, who showed their worth to down Leinster 27-26 at the RDS Arena.

Meanwhile, this season it took a Jack Crowley drop goal late on in the game to seal a famous win against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

How the URC I Grand Final played out

It was a massive moment for South Africa rugby to have two sides in the Grand Final at the first time of asking. The significance of the all-South African final was the full acceptance of all parties into the European rugby structures. It was clear to the existing teams that the new teams added value, and the South Africans now felt as if they belonged, and what better to celebrate that than the famous north-south derby?

The Bulls arrived at DHL Stadium with the Stormers on an impressive home run where they had not lost in Cape Town for several months.

However, the Pretoria men got off to the dream start with hard-running centre Harold Vorster crossing in only the third minute, with fly-half Chris Smith making no mistake with the conversion.

The game inevitably became cagey as both sides did not want to give anything away until on the stroke of half-time, Stormers star Manie Libbok was given an opportunity to get three back for his side, and he duly obliged. The Bulls took a 7-3 lead into the sheds, with the Cape Town crowd sitting anxiously.

The Stormers stayed true to their trend that season of where most of their points were scored in the second half.

The sides traded early penalties before the hosts began their comeback with a barnstorming effort from number eight Evan Roos, who reached over to score five minutes after the break as Libbok added the extras.

The Stormers would score again through Andre Hugo-Venter, who crashed over in the 57th minute. Libbok could not add the extras before Smith would steal three from the hosts in the 65th minute.

The hosts led the game 15-13 at this stage, with time ticking on before Libbok produced a stunning drop goal out of nowhere in the 74th minute giving his team a buffer.

There would be no further points scored as the gruelling battle ended with Cape Town glory.

READ MORE: Former Munster favourite believes injury returnees make for a ‘cracking final’ with Stormers