First win for Stormers
After two failed attempts, the Stormers finally got their first win of the 2013 Super Rugby season after beating the Chiefs 36-34 at Newlands on Saturday.
In a tight arm-wrestle, the hosts held off a late fightback from the defending champions to deposit four valuable points in the bank - despite being outscored four tries to three.
However, the boot of Stormers full-back Joe Pietersen ultimately proved the difference between the two sides and kept the home side ahead throughout a thrilling contest.
The hosts struck first through Pietersen, who was on hand once again to convert the Stormers opening try of the match when discarded Springbok speedster Gio Aplon came off his wing to take an Elton Janjties pass from close range to score.
Chiefs full-back Gareth Anscombe got his name on the scoresheet with a penalty of his own to close the gap slightly, before Pietersen added his second three-pointer moments later to steal back the Stormers' 10-point lead.
The vocal Newlands crowd were then silenced when the Chiefs hit back in typical fashion when centre Charlie Ngatai regathered a grubber kick ahead from Aaron Cruden for a well-earned try after sustained pressure on the Stormers line.
Anscombe's conversion made it a three-point (13-10) ball game, though the Chiefs could only watch helplessly as Pietersen's third penalty attempt sailed through the uprights in the 27th minute.
A yellow card to Chiefs halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow eight minutes from half-time handed three more points to the Stormers on a silver platter from the ensuing penalty and all of a sudden the hosts were once again in a reasonably comfortable lead (19-10).
But with half-time approaching, the defending champs hit back with another excellent and crucial converted try through centre Tim Nanai-Williams after collecting Cruden's stab through ahead (19-17).
The Stormers would have the final say before the break, however, when Aplon crossed over for his second try - converted by Pietersen - to take his team into the half-time sheds 26-17 ahead.
The second half belonged the Chiefs early on after the visitors were restored to 15 men and Anscombe punished a Stormers infringment to put his team back within six points (26-20).
But Stormers scrum-half Nic Groom soon brought the 37,000-strong crowd to their feet when he burrowed over for his first ever Super Rugby try that was duly converted by goal-kicking machine Pietersen (33-20).
Down but not out, the visitors were given a glimmer of hope when Ngatai bagged his second and replacement back Andrew Horwell crossed over for their respective converted scores in between another Pietersen penalty.
With just two points between the two sides, the Chiefs threatened to snatch a late victory. But when Nick Crosswell was yellow-carded in the 78th minute, the Stormers were able to contain the 14-man Chiefs and see out the rest of the match for a well-earned victory.
Tries: Aplon 2, Groom
Cons: Pietersen 3
Pens: Pietersen 5
Tries: Ngatai 2, Nanai-Williams, Crosswell
Cons: Anscombe 4
Pens: Anscombe 2
Yellow card: Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs, 32 mins)
Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Don Armand, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.
Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Patrick Osborn.
By Dave Morris at Newlands