Cape Town - Tries by Springboks Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers helped the Stormers to a 27-17 win over the Auckland Blues and to the top of rugby's Super 15 standings on Friday.
Habana pounced for an opportunist score in the 15th minute and De Villiers carved through the Blues midfield early in the second half to give South Africa's Stormers a hefty 24-3 advantage over their visitors from New Zealand at Newlands.
But Auckland launched a stirring comeback when center Benson Stanley and prop Charlie Faumuina crossed for converted tries in quick succession to close the gap to just seven points with 15 minutes to play.
Fullback Joe Pietersen's 73rd-minute penalty finally sealed victory for the Stormers, who improved to 3-0. Auckland has now lost three out of four.
Tries: Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers
Conversion: Joe Pietersen
Penalties: Pietersen (5).
Tries: Benson Stanley, Charlie Faumuina
Conversions: Gareth Anscombe (2)
Penalty: Lachie Munro.