Munster secured a brilliant 26-24 victory over Stormers in Cape Town to secure a place in the URC play-offs with one game to spare on Saturday evening.
It was a massive squad effort as reigning champions Stormers were beaten at home for the first time since 2021.
Diarmuid Barron scored two tries in the first half with Shane Daly and Gavin Coombes touching down after the break as Jack Crowley (two) and Ben Healy landed conversions to clinch a memorable victory.
Munster made the perfect start as Alex Kendellen won a penalty at the breakdown and Crowley kicked to the corner with Barron breaking from the rolling maul to score after just two minutes.
The score was awarded after consultation with the TMO and Jack Crowley converted to make it 7-0.
Seabelo Senatla was sin-binned for a high tackle on O’Mahony on the right wing with Crowley kicking into the 22 again as Munster continued their good start.
Jean Kleyn, who was superb against his former side, claimed the lineout and a brilliant Munster maul saw Barron dot down. Crowley pulled the conversion left but Munster led 12-0.
Stormers took the initiative when Crowley dropped a Stormers garryowen and they had a five-metre scrum when Malakai Fekitoa had to touch down in our in-goal area after a mix-up with Shane Daly.
The hosts took advantage with tighthead prop Frans Malherbe scoring in the left corner off a Reuben van Heerden offload. Mannie Libbok was off target with the conversion with Senatla returning Stormers to their full complement on the restart.
Stormers were level after an extended period of pressure in the Munster 22 with Ruhan Nel charging through the Munster defence to score on the stroke of half-time. Libbok converted to make it 12-all at the break.
Stormers won a scrum penalty within a minute of the restart with Libbok’s strike hitting the post. Calvin Nash then came up with a try-saving tackle on Hartzenberg and O’Mahony came up with a huge lineout steal as Stormers piled on the pressure.
The Munster maul repelled a five-metre lineout with Gavin Coombes somehow winning back possession before the Skibbereen man won a vital turnover on 49 minutes.
It took a vital Kleyn tackle to stop Libbok after he intercepted Crowley’s pass but Munster soon hit the front.
Shane Daly finished brilliantly in the left corner on 57 minutes after a superb rolling maul near halfway was followed by a slick backline move. Mike Haley gave the final pass with Daly racing 20 metres and twisting to dot down. Ben Healy nailed the all-important touchline conversion to give Munster a 19-12 lead with 21 minutes to go.
O’Mahony earned a breakdown penalty and Ben Healy had a shot from 50 metres but slipped as he struck it with the kick falling short as Munster looked for a two-score lead.
Instead, Stormers hit back and were in for their third try on 67 minutes as their pack mauled over for Kitshoff to score with Libbok’s tricky conversion just wide as Munster clung on to a 19-17 lead.
Munster came again and worked their way up the field for Coombes to score the vital fourth try under the posts with Healy’s simple conversion making it 26-17 with 73 minutes played.
Stormers came again and Libbok saw two penalties drift wide before Nel touched down in the final play with Libbok converting but Munster’s first visit to the Cape Town stadium ended with an outstanding victory.
URC Round 17 Round-Up
RG Snyman departed for a HIA.
Diarmuid Barron (neck) will be assessed by the medical department.
Peter O’Mahony was named Player of the Match.
Munster stay fifth in the table with one round of action remaining.
Keith Earls made his first appearance since New Year’s Day and his 199th Munster cap.
Munster: Mike Haley (Keith Earls, 65); Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Malakai Fekitoa, Shane Daly; Jack Crowley (Ben Healy, 55), Conor Murray (Craig Casey, 71); Jeremy Loughman (Josh Wycherley, 75), Diarmuid Barron (Scott Buckley, 64), Stephen Archer (Keynan Knox, 80); Jean Kleyn (Finneen Wycherley, 51-56), RG Snyman (Fineen Wycherley, 64); Peter O’Mahony (C), Alex Kendellen (Jack O’Donoghue, 51), Gavin Coombes (Keynan Knox, 78).