South African rugby side DHL Stormers defeated local rivals the Vodacom Bulls 18-13 in the United Rugby Championship (URC) Grand Final at the DHL Stadium on Saturday to be crowned winners of the tournament’s inaugural season.
Fly-half Manie Libbok, the Stormers’ hero in the semifinal against Ulster, kicked eight points as his side recovered from being 3-7 down at halftime to win a tense finale at their home ground.
Centre Harold Vorster crossed over for a try, in just the second minute, which was converted by Chris Smith to give the Bulls a 7-0 lead but Libbok cut the gap to four with a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Smith restored the Bulls’ seven-point lead with a penalty shortly after the restart but the Bulls leveled the game through Evan Roos’ converted try.
A try by Andre-Hugo Venter in the 56th minute saw the Stormers lead the game for the first time before Smith kicked a three-pointer to reduce the home side’s lead to just two points.
However, Libbok kicked a drop-goal to restore the five-point lead and the Stormers then held on for a memorable win as the Bulls struggled to maintain their forward dominance.
It was the Stormers’ 11th consecutive win in the competition and saw them exact revenge on the Bulls for their defeat in their only final in Super Rugby in 2010.
(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)