Munster stun Stormers in Cape Town, Connacht secure play-off place as Edinburgh impress against Ospreys

Wins for Edinburgh, Munster and Connacht Credit: Alamy

Wins for Edinburgh, Munster and Connacht Credit: Alamy

Munster claimed a 26-24 victory over the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship (URC), ending the hosts’ 19 match winning streak in Cape Town.

The Irish side also sealed a bonus point with Gavin Coombes’ try adding to Diarmuid Barron’s brace in the first half and a fine finish from Shane Daly.

Munster’s impressive victory puts them within five points of fourth-placed Glasgow heading into their final regular-season game, away at the Sharks.

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The third-placed Stormers complete the regular season at home to Benetton on Friday, handing over second-placed Ulster with one game to play.

Munster’s quick start was rewarded within two minutes when Barron broke through the back of a maul.

Referee Craig Evans initially said not to try but then changed his mind when he noticed that Barron had grounded the ball as he whistled.

Jack Crowley added the conversion and there was more trouble for the Stormers when winger Seabelo Senatla was sent aside after 22 minutes.

Evans gave Senalta a yellow card for a high tackle on Munster captain Peter O’Mahony after being asked to review the incident by the televised match official.

Munster immediately took advantage of their extra man as Barron charged out of a maul again to charge.

Senatla’s absence, however, prompted the Stormers into action and second-row Ruben van Heerden cleared Frans Malherbe for the prop to claim his first URC try.

The clock was in the red at halftime when parity was restored on the scoreboard.

Ruhan Nel broke in on a pass from Dan du Plessis and Manie Libbok added a simple conversion.

The Stormers started the second half as they had ended the first, taking the lead with Libbok’s penalty attempt hitting an upright and Suleiman Hartzenberg denied by the last defence.

But Munster kept the line intact and took the lead in the 57th minute when Mike Haley cleared Daly and the wing had the strength to shake off Senatla in the corner.

Substitute Ben Healy delivered a wonderful touchline kick for a 19-12 lead.

The Stormers picked up the pace and skipper Steven Kitshoff capitalized on a huge forward drive, although Libbok failed to level the scores as his resulting kick went wide.

Munster was back again and Coombes sneaked under a pile of bodies to secure a try bonus point.

Healy added extras to ensure the Stormers had to score twice for victory, and their hopes were dashed when Libbok missed a penalty.

Nel’s converted try from the final game ensured Stormers walked away with two bonus points.

Connacht beat Cardiff to reach play-offs

Connacht marked Andy Friend’s last home game as director of rugby with a 38-19 bonus point win over Cardiff at the Sportsground.

With the win they confirmed their place in the United Rugby Championship play-offs and European Cup qualification.

Connacht led 26-7 at half-time thanks to tries from Diarmuid Kilgallen, Diarmuid Tierney-Martin, Conor Oliver and Mack Hansen.

Thomas Young doubled Cardiff’s try tally in the 48th minute, adding to an effort from Seb Davies, but a penalty try and late score from scrum-half Kieran Marmion finished the scoreline.

Despite flanker Young crushing in a last minute try, Cardiff failed to get a bonus point ahead of their decisive Judgment Day clash with Ospreys next weekend.

Connacht took the lead on 13 minutes, Tom Farrell taking advantage of a misalignment in midfield to send winger Kilgallen to the right of the posts. Jack Carty has converted.

Taking advantage of James Botham’s sin-binning for a high tackle on Oliver, a patiently worked maul sent hooker Tierney-Martin into the right corner.

Connacht’s scrum did some damage before Caolin Blade got past Tomos Williams and unloaded a tackle for Oliver diving under the posts.

The visitors rallied seven points on the half-hour mark, a dummy Liam Belcher made the early break before Williams’ quick pass sent Lock Davies wide.

However, Province Ireland pocketed the bonus point when Hansen got under the posts with a discharge from Bundee Aki, with Carty restoring the gap to 19 points.

Cardiff took Connacht through 33 stages early in the second half, finally using a well-controlled drive to put Young through, leaving him 26-12 up.

However, the Welsh side’s lineout let them down on two further occasions and an accidental collision resulted in Owen Lane being stretchered off.

Connacht regained control beyond the hour mark, Aki joining a maul earning a penalty try due to two Cardiff players infringing. Young was picked up for a yellow card.

Cardiff’s Welsh Shield hopes now rest on their final fixture with the Ospreys – Young managed a pass after Max Llewellyn missed an earlier chance – but a 75th-minute Marmion woodcock lost sight of the home side, who took back sixth place.

Edinburgh organized a clinic against the Ospreys

Edinburgh gave manager Mike Blair a noteworthy dismissal in his final home game before resigning after ending a run of four United Rugby Championship defeats with a 45-21 win over the Ospreys.

Five tries in the first half ensured that the game finished as a contest by half-time, and although the second 40 tries were more even, the Scots were in no mood to let the game slip their grasp.

Edinburgh took a lead in the fifth minute when Ben Vellacott intercepted a pass from Owen Williams just inside the Ospreys’ half and went on unopposed.

That scoreline injected a massive dose of confidence into a home team that had been desperately short of that quality for the past few months, and within minutes he scored again.

This time a more orthodox attack set up the platform, with Jamie Ritchie and Darcy Graham among those combining well down the right before Dave Cherry was on hand to finish from close range.

The Ospreys hadn’t had an offense worth the name up to that point, but that changed after Luke Morgan was tackled for touch by Blair Kinghorn near the home five-yard line.

Edinburgh lost the lineout and after a pair of goal-line assaults were cleared, Dewi Lake secured from ten yards out and Owen Williams converted.

Edinburgh responded and got their third try just past the quarter-hour mark. Sam Skinner finished this time, with Hamish Watson providing the assist.

The home fan got back to his feet minutes later when Emiliano Boffelli grabbed the bonus point try after intercepting a wide pass inside his own 10-metre line.

Skinner was then shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Rhys Davies but the Ospreys were unable to assert their numerical advantage.

Minutes before half-time Davies himself was sent to sin for running late and high on Graham.

Then, on the last move of the half, Watson got Edinburgh’s fifth: Kinghorn sent a penalty into touch, the maul ran smoothly this time and Scotland’s open side closed, with Boffelli’s conversion bringing the score at 35-7.

With Davies back on the field, Ospreys scored first in the second half, Lake finished a lineout drive, and Owen Williams converted.

Morgan Morris became the third player of the night to be sent off as the referee grew tired of his team’s abuse.

With the Ospreys defense both down a man and starting to feel the pace, Graham got the score he had long threatened to take, rebounding off a pair of tackles before touching down on the right.

Graham grabbed a second in the last 10 minutes to win the race for a lead from Boffelli before Sam Parry scored a late consolation for the Ospreys.

TO KNOW MORE: Five takeaways from Munster’s victory over the Stormers

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