RG Snyman shows his x-factor as Munster get past Stormers

Johann van Graan’s side started slow but then found their groove at Thomond Park

Munster 34 Stormers 18

All’s well that ends well. For much of the first 35 minutes or so, Munster would have happily settled for the second bonus point win which ensued. That it came largely from the power of their forward pack, which accounted for all of their five tries, was of little concern to them or the 10,723 attendance.

This was all the truer as the fifth came courtesy of a powerful finish from their World Cup-winning lock RG Snyman. Collecting the ball from yet another lineout take by Peter O’Mahony, Snyman wheeled through two tackles and powered through another to slam dunk the ball on the line with his long reach.

The score prompted the biggest cheer of the night, and provided a glimpse of the added X factor which the 6’ 9”, 117kg, 26-year-old can bring them this season. It comes after a horrendous first season which was restricted to seven minutes due to a serious knee injury and was capped off by the firepit incident which left him badly scarred.


The frustration of that campaign will also surely fuel his desire to make up for lost time.

“That was a big moment for him and for us,” admitted Johann van Graan. “Last week was all about getting back on the pitch after such an extended period (out injured) and tonight was about contributing even more.

“That try was even one of the reasons why we have him at Munster, to do those type of things. He has a lot more to come but like I said before, he has to keep building his minutes. That was a special moment for him tonight to say he has scored his first try for Munster.”

In truth, Munster were again slow out of the traps and almost all the rugby in the first-half was played by the more inventive and ambitious Stormers. The elusive and pacey duo of fullback Warrick Gelant and Leolin Zas both went over, the first down to a defensive disconnect between Keith Earls and Calvin Nash, the second the product off a deft bout of offloading by flanker Nama Xaba and each of the frontrowers.

But for Manie Libbok leaving five points behind off the tee and having a try disallowed after Peter O’Mahony just did enough to prevent him completing his grounding - by millimetres - their initial 15-0 lead could have been in the 20s.

Championship minutes. The game turned on Munster’s three-try salvo either side of the interval, helped to a significant extent by the Stormers’ loss of discipline.

The outstanding Jack O’Donoghue set the ball rolling when placing the ball on the line after a close-in, nine-phase pummelling of the Stormers line off a lineout drive with the last play of the first half.

Munster resorted to route one again with another pick-and-jam try off a maul and then another directly from an 11-man catch-and-drive. Helped by the centres and blindside wing Nash, this was the height of the backs’ direct contribution to any of Munster’s five tries.

Both followed the sin-binning of captain Salmaan Moerat for taking out O’Mahony in the air at a lineout, Brace decreeing it “dangerous”.

Munster secured the bonus point by the 56th minute when O’Donoghue plunged over from a take by O’Mahony - Coombes having won the penalty with which the Munster skipper and Carbery opted for the corner - before Snyman varnished the occasion in his inimitable way.

Munster can rightly point to some good passages of play in the build-up to these scores, such as the left-handed offload by O’Donoghue and tip on by O’Mahony which released Shane Daly and initially brought them life.

Nevertheless, in the final analysis, the Stormers had five clean line breaks to one, beat 20 defenders (Munster doing so 13 times) and made 21 offloads to six.

Munster’s performance, therefore, will not assuage the doubts that whenever it comes to taking on the elite teams in Europe, they will need to produce something more.

“We adapted tonight to what the opposition gave us,” countered van Graan. “They came with a big rush defence; they didn’t give us any space beyond the 15s. They boxed us in and then they played with their wings high. They hit us and they dominated the breakdown.

“So we needed to adapt at half-time and like I said that’s the sign of a good team is one that can adapt. From a coaching point of view, we are very happy that the team did that. You take the cards that have been dealt you on the night.

“So, we are certainly not going to moan about scoring four (forward-based) tries in the second half. It is about balance. We tried to play at the start of the game but the opposition hit us backwards and we made mistakes, so we had to adapt and I am pretty happy with that.”

Scoring sequence: 9 mins Gelant try 0-5; 20 mins Zas try, Libbok con 0-12; 30 mins Gelant pen 0-15; 40 (+1) mins O'Donoghue try, Carbery con 7-15; (half-time 7-15); 46 mins Kleyn try, Carbery con 14-15; 51 mins N Scannell try 19-15; 56 mins O'Donoghue try 24-15; 66 mins Swiel pen 24-18; 68 mins Snyman try, Healy con 31-18, 81 mins Healy pen 34-18.

Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Keith Earls, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; Joey Carbery, Craig Casey; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Keynan Knox; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Peter O'Mahony (capt), Jack O'Donoghue, Gavin Coombes. Replacements: Jeremy Loughman for Kilcoyne (47 mins), RG Snyman for Kleyn (58 mins), Simon Zebo for Earls (60 mins), Stephen Archer for Knox (61 mins), Ben Healy for Carbery for (62 mins), Diarmuid Barron for N Scannell (70 mins), Rowan Osborne for Casey (72 mins), Jack O'Sullivan for O'Donoghue (73 mins).

Stormers: Warrick Gelant, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Dan du Plessis, Leolin Zas, Manie Libbok, Stefan Ungerer, Brok Harris, Scarra Ntubeni, Neethling Fouche, Adre Smith, Salmaan Moerat (capt), Nama Xaba, Willie Engelbrecht, Evan Roos. Replacements: Tim Swiel for Libbok (49 mins), Godlen Masimla for Ungerer (56 mins), Andre-Hugo Venter for Ntubeni, Leon Lyons for Harris, Sazi Sandi for Fouche (all 61 mins), Ernst van Rhyn for Smith, Marcel Theunissen for Xaba (both 66 mins), Rikus Pretorius for du Plessis (67 mins). Sinbinned - Moerat (44-54 mins).

Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU).