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Watch: Stormers Player Sent Off For Nasty Eye Gouge On Iain Henderson

Watch: Stormers Player Sent Off For Nasty Eye Gouge On Iain Henderson
By Colman Stanley Updated

Only Munster's penalty shoot-out has provided more late drama this season than today's URC semi-final between Ulster and the Stormers.

However before Ulster's heartbreaking loss in the 87th minute, they were handed a huge advantage in the 71st minute when Adre Smith was red carded for a brain dead eye gouge on Ulster captain Iain Henderson.

After two early tries from the South African side, Ulster hit back with two tries of their own and lead the game from the 28th minute until the Stormers levelled the match with a try in the 85th minute.

Ulster had defended their line heroically from the 14-man Stormers for multiple phases, but the the dam inevitably burst when Warrick Gelant went over on the left hand side of the pitch.

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It left outhalf Manie Libbok, who had missed every previous kick, with a tough conversion to send his side to the URC final. The kick looked to be heading just wide but managed to sneak over the top of the post and send the stadium unto raptures.

The game had begun in ominous fashion when JJ Kotze scored a try after just four minutes, while maverick no. 8 added another try just ten minutes later.

Ulster bravely regrouped however, and scored their first try through Robert Baloucoune, although the pass to put him over from Stewart Moore seemed to be forward.

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Moore scored soon after, following some excellent build up play from James Hume and Baloucoune, before John Cooney put his side 15-10 ahead with a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

The second half was scrappy and largely uneventful up until Smith's red card, and the first points scored was Libbok's epic try.

It's another season where Ulster will feel they have underachieved, and another huge game where they have been undone through a late try, after they were knocked out of thee Champions Cup by Antoine Dupont's 74th minute score.

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For Irish rugby it is one of the most disappointing weekends in recent memory, with the only saving grace being that it proves that the South African teams have been a perfect addition to the URC.

SEE ALSO: 'No-One Gave Us A Chance' The Reaction After Leinster's Shock Semi-Final Loss

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