United Rugby Championship: A combined Stormers and Munster XV ahead of the Grand Final
The second edition of the United Rugby Championship (URC) comes to an end this weekend as the Stormers host their second consecutive Grand Final, only this time against a red-hot Munster side in front of a sold-out DHL Stadium in Cape Town.
In anticipation of what is sure to be an exhilarating final between two teams who are in sensational form, Planet Rugby has selected a combined XV.
URC Grand Final Combined XV
15 Damian Willemse (Stormers): The Springbok star is an obvious pick and would add value to any team. His versatility is extremely impressive, and it is his comprehensive set of attributes that allows that. Willemse can kick well out of hand, take the ball to the line, has a good passing game and, through his impressive athleticism, covers the backfield brilliantly. He can change a game and is key to the ignition of the Stormers’ counter-attacking play.
Love this angle of Damian Willemse’s finish 🔥👏
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) April 3, 2023
14 Keith Earls (Munster): Experience personified. The veteran looked sharp in the semi-final and is no stranger to a big occasion, as he showed against Leinster. He will be absolutely crucial for his side should he get the nod for the big occasion on Saturday as he looks to add to his glittering career. Stormers star Seabelo Senatla may have provided an interesting debate for this position if he were not injured.
13 Antoine Frisch (Munster): The centre has been a star for Munster in the latter stages of the season, including a key try against Glasgow Warriors in the quarter-finals. His gainline success is very impressive, as well as his offloading ability as his tally of 15 for the season suggests. The outside centre is a crucial position in any side, and Frisch is a quality player. What a signing he has been for the province.
🔥 Antoine Frisch is at it again!
👏 A superb offload to set up Patrick Campbell.#URC #MUNvSCA pic.twitter.com/XmwzFISzvq
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) March 3, 2023
12 Dan du Plessis (Stormers): Certainly one of the Capetonians’ best players this season and arguably the best in the URC. His ability to slot in at 12 or 13 with aplomb is severely underrated. Du Plessis has been a revelation with ball in hand, channelling his inner Jean de Villiers, by frequently scything through defences. The centre has beaten a whopping 37 defenders in a memorable season, earning him selection over Munster’s Malakai Fekitoa in our combined team.
11 Leolin Zas (Stormers): Last season’s top try scorer may have spent a great deal of this campaign on the sidelines, but since his return, he has issued a reminder of his finishing ability. Zas defines prolific in the way he finds scoring opportunities from nothing through his extreme pace, ability to chip and chase as well as deceptive strength. He is one of the URC’s finest.
10 Manie Libbok (Stormers): An easy selection. The fly-half seemingly has the world at his fingertips, waving his wand game in and game out to inevitably produce some sort of magic. The Springbok has it all; he can pass 30 metres, kick with both feet, take the ball to the line and even manage the game with increasing maturity. A defensive line’s nightmare because one can never be sure what he will do next, and Libbok makes those decisions in a split second. He is a true master of playmaking and an absolute points machine.
🇿🇦 Manie Libbok showing why he became a Bok in 2022. 👏 #STOvDRA pic.twitter.com/g6gAUPrd74
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) December 3, 2022
9 Conor Murray (Munster): In many ways, the Rolls Royce of scrum-halves. Mercurial Murray is always calm and composed. He kicks exceptionally well from the base, distributes brilliantly and is an outstanding half-back partner. The reliability of the Test centurion makes him a more secure option than the livewire Stormer Herschel Jantjies.
8 Gavin Coombes (Munster): The Irishman has been a colossus this season, scoring an outrageous 10 tries. Add to that 222 contact metres and 24 defenders beaten, and it’s clear to see the number eight is in great form and has been crucial for Munster. His form and crazy work ethic put him clearly above Stormer Evan Roos, who is yet to find his best after returning from injury.
Big carry from Gavin Coombes off the base.#URC #Munster pic.twitter.com/ZXsmcZ8hcO
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) February 16, 2022
7 Deon Fourie (Stormers): The openside has been a great story over the last two seasons by defying his age to continuously improve. Fourie is a breakdown expert; there are few better than him in the URC and even in the world. His prowess over the ball and in the jackal can be game-changing. His value for the Stormers cannot be overstated, and in a big clash like a final, key moments can be won at the breakdown.
6 Peter O’Mahony (Munster): The flank is an inspirational leader and quite simply a world-class rugby player. The Irishman is a true line-out operator and has shown that all season long with Munster. He has notched 30 takes off his own through and a brilliant nine steals all season long. These attributes are very handy in the modern game that is so oriented around set-pieces. Outside of that, he rarely misses tackles and is a key influence at the breakdown.
5 Tadhg Beirne (Munster): Whether at flank or in the second-row, Beirne is a game-changer in his own right. The Irishman is a hard-working star who is another line-out operator, a committed defender, solid in the carry and a menace at the breakdown. He is such an intelligent player who has a knack for playing a part in key moments of the game, which will be crucial this weekend.
⚠️ Attention: The rumours are true… @LeinsterRugby's defence has been finally breached 🤯@MunsterRugby's Tadhg Beirne bashes his way over the line 🔴#BKTURC #URC | #UnitedWeRise | #LEIvMUN pic.twitter.com/HKaH7N3xPA
— BKT United Rugby Championship (URC) (@URCOfficial) May 13, 2023
4 Jean Kleyn (Munster): The second-row is a key carrier for Munster with 134 carries this season in a tireless effort. Through that, he shows his power with 102 contact metres which is hugely impressive and important to giving his side front-foot ball. He is also reliable in the set-piece with a whopping 38 line-out takes in a season where he has run out for the Irish province on 18 occasions.
3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers): A star that needs little introduction to the rugby world. Malherbe lives up to his nickname ‘Buffel’ through his scrummaging ability that is right up there with the best in the world, and has been for some time. He provides a rock-solid platform for the rest of the team to work with, and in open play he is a committed defender. An easy selection.
2 Joseph Dweba (Stormers): It has been a good season for the Springbok, who has come a long way with his line-out throwing. It is clear he has worked hard at it, and for the most part it shows. Beyond that, his influence is obvious through the monstrous frame that he throws at the opposition, whether on defence or attack. It is a big week for Dweba, who has to back up some choice words about the game.
1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers): A man who bleeds the blue and white of the Stormers and a star who is everything a modern-day loosehead needs to be. Kitshoff is mobile yet physical, is a brilliant scrummager and carries with brutality. What he gives his team in addition to all of that, is the ability to jackal at the breakdown making him one of the overall best in his position in the world.
READ MORE: Stormers v Munster: Five storylines to follow including heated exchanges in a fiery URC final