Rugby Union

Munster captain Peter O'Mahony hails team's resilience after United Rugby Championship success

Munster flanker John Hodnett goes over for the winning try in his side's 19-14 United Rugby Championship final win over the Stormers in South Africa Picture by Sportsfile
Andrew Baldock

Munster captain Peter O’Mahony hailed his team’s “incredible resilience” after they won the United Rugby Championship title following a 19-14 victory over the Stormers in Cape Town.

It was Munster’s first major trophy for 12 years and came after defeats in the 2015, 2017 and 2021 finals.

Flanker John Hodnett’s try five minutes from time - converted from the touchline by fly-half Jack Crowley - denied the Stormers back-to-back URC crowns.

“We performed well in the first half, and we probably should have been a couple more scores up, but credit the Stormers - their defence was excellent,” O’Mahony told URC TV.

“We showed incredible resilience and skills to score a well-worked try with five minutes to go. It was a tough surface and tough conditions with a wet ball.

“We went behind but we stuck to our guns. We got back into it and the last five minutes were class.”

Try-scorer Hodnett added: “It is some win for us. It’s massive, a whole year of work, and it is unbelievable to win it and say we are champions.

“We kept going and never gave up. It’s huge for us and hasn’t at all sunk in.”

It was Munster’s fifth successive away game in the competition as they followed respective quarter-final and semi-final victories over Glasgow and Leinster with another inspired performance.

Flanker Deon Fourie’s try early in the second half, converted by Manie Libbok, looked to have swayed an intense and ferociously-committed encounter Stormers’ way before Hodnett pounced.

Fly-half Libbok scored a interception try he also converted but Munster led by five points at the break following touchdowns from hooker Diarmuid Barron and wing Calvin Nash while Crowley converted Nash’s score.

Munster head coach Graham Rowntree said: “We needed to show huge character. What a team this Stormers team is. We had to be good and we played well in the first half.

“We stuck in there, we showed good fight and I am immensely proud of the players. We’ve been to some tough places on the road recently and showed character.

“The momentum that gave us, going away from home, winning games, it’s exactly what you need to win a game like this one and we did it.”

It was a deflating defeat for the Stormers, though, and not the farewell they wanted for captain Steven Kitshoff, who will join Ulster after the World Cup later this year.

“Munster put us under a lot of pressure and scored some great tries. I am so sorry we disappointed our supporters,” Kitshoff said.

“We couldn’t get our passes to stick but all credit to Munster.”

Rugby Union