Both matches proved to be a hard grind as all four semi-finalists gave everything they had, but in the end the Capetonians edged Ulster by 17-15 at the DHL Stadium with a dramatic converted try in injury-time on Saturday afternoon, booking them a home final as the highest place team on the log to feature in the grand finale.
All the pressure came down to DHL Stormers flyhalf Manie Libbok who kicked the winning conversion with the teams tied at 15-15 with seconds left to play after Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant scored the crucial try moments earlier.
The Vodacom Bulls, meanwhile, edged log-leaders and tournament favourites Leinster 27-26 in a shock result in Dublin on Friday night, after holding a slender 17-14 lead at the break.
Despite the hosts outscoring the Tshwane side by four tries to two and a penalty try, the visitors’ goal kicking, which featured two penalty goals and a conversion, nudged them in front on the scoreboard when the final whistle sounded, securing their place in the final.
The Vodacom Bulls achieved the almost impossible in Dublin on Friday night, when they upset heavy favourites Leinster with a massively physical performance to book their place in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final courtesy of a 27-26 victory (half-time 17-14).
With their forwards setting the tone on a windy and rainy evening at the RDS Arena, dominating the collisions and stopping Leinster from gaining any momentum in the set pieces, the Vodacom Bulls became the first South African team to win a Vodacom URC match in the Irish capital.
Their defence was also superb, restricting Leinster’s famous attack in a way seldom seen in Dublin and forcing the hosts to make errors, and although the home side outscored the men from Pretoria by four tries to three, they failed to get any form of proper momentum, mainly due to the Vodacom Bulls’ superb tackling.
Leinster 26 (14) – Tries: Dan Sheehan, Robbie Henshaw, Rory O’Loughlin, Cian Healy. Conversions: Ross Byrne (2), Johnny Sexton.
Vodacom Bulls 27 (17) – Tries: Johan Grobbelaar, Marcell Coetzee, Penalty try. Conversions: Chris Smith (2). Penalty goal: Smith, Morne Steyn.
A Warrick Gelant try and the successful conversion deep in injury time by Manie Libbok saw the DHL Stormers snatch a home final in dramatic fashion as they edged Ulster 17-15 in their Vodacom United Rugby Championship semi-final in Cape Town on Saturday.
The victory – with the hosts reduced to 14 men due to a red card with 10 minutes to go in the match – booked them their spot in the final against the Vodacom Bulls at home.
The match was on a knife's edge for most of the second half after Ulster went into the break leading by 15-10, but the DHL Stormers' never-say-die attitude pulled it through for them, much to the delight of the massive crowd in Cape Town.
DHL Stormers 17 (10) – Tries: JJ Kotze, Evan Roos, Warrick Gelant. Conversion: Manie Libbok.
Ulster 15 (15) – Tries: Robert Baloucoune, Stewart Moore. Conversion: John Cooney. Penalty goal: Cooney.