Cape Town - The Crusaders shook off an early Stormers onslaught to run out deserved 19-14 winners in their Super Rugby match at Newlands on Saturday evening.
The touring New Zealanders turned the match around midway through the first half and then held a vice-like grip on proceedings for the rest of the encounter.
The Crusaders failed to capitalise on a promising start, which saw them take play up to the Stormers' 22m territory, while they spurned more opportunities after the hosts lost three lineouts in the first eight minutes.VIDEO: Stormers v Crusaders, highlights
Despite their lineout woes, the Stormers ran up an 11-0 lead after 22 minutes, courtesy of two Joe Pietersen
penalties and an unconverted Siya Kolisi
try, after their attacking play posed problems for the Crusaders at the breakdown.
But the men from Canterbury bounced back superbly with a 13-point burst to wrest the lead for the first time in the match.
They started their fightback in style with a 22nd minute try under the sticks by flanker Matt Todd, and flyhalf Tyler Bleyendaal added the conversion.
The Crusaders continued to hold the upper hand, creating pressure in the Stormers' half, and Bleyendaal knocked over two penalties to ensure the visitors returned to the change rooms at the break with a 13-11 lead.
On their return, the Crusaders continued where they left off and pinned the Stormers down for a six-minute passage of play, but without reward.
The home team bravely weathered the storm with desperate defence, which stopped the Crusaders just short of the try-line at least four times.
Stormers No 8 Duane Vermeulen
was yellow-carded in the 55th minute and the teams exchanged penalties in quick succession through Bleyendaal and Pietersen to retain the two-point margin on the scoreboard.
Unable to regain the initiative, the Stormers were forced into a largely defensive role for the rest of the encounter.
Ten minutes from the end, man-of-the-match Bleyendaal succeeded with a 35m penalty to put his side 19-14 up.
The Stormers had a chance to snatch a win at the death but were unable to break a resolute Crusaders defence, and conceded their third loss of the season.Scorers:Stormers:
Try: Siya Kolisi
Penalties: Joe Pietersen
Try: Matt Todd
Conversion: Tyler Bleyendaal
Penalties: Bleyendaal (4)Teams:Stormers:
15. Joe Pietersen
, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Gerhard van den Heever, 10. Elton Jantjies
, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage
, 8. Duane Vermeulen
, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi
, 5. Andries Bekker
, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Pat Cilliers
Substitutes: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Brok Harris
, 18. Don Armand, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Nic Groom, 21. Damian de Allende, 22. Jaco TauteCrusaders:
15 Tom Marshall, 14 Johnny McNicholl 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Luke Whitelock 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (captain), 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano , 3 Owen Franks 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Benn Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Adam Whitelock, 22 Shane Christie