Leinster have taken two losing points from their South African tour, after games against the Sharks and the Stormers. And, after taking a squad featuring many young and inexperienced players to the toughest environment in the URC, they will be relatively pleased with this outcome.
The points also mean that they have secured top spot in the URC, giving them home advantage throughout the play-offs, and in the final.
However, Leo Cullen and his men would have wanted a win, and Leinster will argue that this could have come about had the referee awarded a yellow card to Stormers’ no. 8 Evan Roos, following a dirty play on Harry Byrne.
Despite having put in a legitimate and hard tackle on Byrne, Roos still felt the need to shove his head into the dirt while the Leinster outhalf was in no position to defend himself.
It was an act of unprovoked foul-play, and certainly warranted a yellow card. However, referee Craig Evans decided not to take the issue any further.
With the incident taking place in the 64th minute and the game tied at 13 a piece, Leinster will feel that a card at such a pivotal time may have swung the game in their favour.
The Stormers ended up scoring a penalty try a minute later, and would hold out for a 20-13 win.
Following the match, Stormers head coach John Dobson was full of praise for what he described as Leinster’s ‘B’ team, after they put up an impressive fight against a strong Stormers outfit.
“A coach, I think it was Tony Booth [of Ospreys], told me earlier in the season that the best team in the competition is Leinster, and the second-best team is Leinster B, and I don’t think he was joking.”
The win moves the Stormers into fourth place in the URC, level on points with Munster and the Sharks, and six points behind leaders Leinster.