Munster reveal team for URC Grand Final in South Africa

Stormers are favourites on home turf but the Reds have real momentum
Munster reveal team for URC Grand Final in South Africa

Munster captain Peter O'Mahony is congratulated after the URC semi-final win over Leinster at the Aviva. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

IT seems simply incredible to be typing these words, but on Saturday Munster face the Stormers in the URC Grand Final in Cape Town, with their impressive away record meaning the reigning league champions will be expecting a real dogfight to retain their title.

Since last November we have been talking about must-win games for Munster, given their poor start to the season, with the twin goals of securing a URC play-off berth and European qualification for next year being in jeopardy all year. 

There were the odd mentions of Munster looking to secure their first piece of silverware since 2011 as well, but, if we are being brutally honest, that seemed like pipe dream territory. 

Well, here we are!

This final is a clash between third-place Stormers and fifth-place Munster, but Munster’s finishing position does not really tell the tale of their season.

They ended the campaign with 10 wins, one draw and seven defeats, but when you consider their dreadful start, where they lost five of their opening seven games, then fifth place was actually an incredible achievement.

Munster’s results in the last eleven games in the league proper were eight wins, the impressive comeback draw away to the Sharks, and two defeats, to Leinster and Glasgow.

The fact that their play-off route to the final saw them ending Leinster’s 25-game winning streak at the Aviva Stadium, after ending Glasgow’s 17-game winning run at Scotstoun in the quarter-final, says a hell of a lot about how far this Munster side has come since those lowly defeats to the Dragons, Cardiff and Connacht.


To add to that, Munster also halted the Stormers' long-running 19-game winning run in Cape Town, in the brilliant 24-26 triumph in April, showing just how formidable a force they have become on the road.

Of course, the one thing that win did is give the reigning champions a warning of what they can expect on Saturday. Hooker Joseph Dweba certainly did not seem too worried about the prospect of facing Munster, given his expletive-filled statement in the controversial video that went viral of the Stormers squad celebrating Munster’s win over Leinster with perhaps a tad too much gusto.

MUNSTER: M Haley; C Nash, A Frisch, M Fekitoa, S Daly; J Crowley, C Murray; J Loughman, D Barron, S Archer; J Kleyn, T Beirne; P O'Mahony, J Hodnett, G Coombes.

Replacements: N Scannell, J Wycherley, R Salanoa, RG Snyman, A Kendellan, C Casey, B Healy, K Earls.

STORMERS: D Willemse; A Davids, R Nel, L Zas; M Libbock, H Jantjies; S Kitshoff, J Dweba, F Malherbe; R van Heerden, M Orie; D Fourie, H Dayimani, E Roos.

Replacements: JJ Kotze, A Vermaak, N Fouche, B-J Dixon, W Engelbrecht, M Theunissen, P de Wet, C Blommetjies.

The Stormers are, unsurprisingly, favourites to retain their title on their home turf. It seems a huge ask for Munster to surprise them twice in a row here, but whatever the result, it has been a wonderful season for Munster, and one that has reignited the passion and pride of some of the previous Munster teams of old.

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