Cape Town - The Stormers finally surrendered their unbeaten record when they were defeated 28-19 by the visiting New Zealand side, the Chiefs, in the Super Rugby match at Newlands on Saturday afternoon.
AS IT HAPPENED: Stormers v Chiefs
It has been six years since the Chiefs last won in Cape Town. On that occasion, in 2009, they scored four tries to two in a 28-14 victory.
This time they outscored the Stormers 3-1 in the try count, and for most of the second half the Chiefs held the upper hand for long passages of play.
A dominant second-minute scrum by the Stormers provided an early hint to the just over 42 000 spectators that they would carry on where they left off against the Sharks last week.
The early show of dominance did not, however, allow the Stormers to impose themselves on the match and the visiting flyhalf Aaron Cruden drew first blood with a fourth-minute penalty (3-0).
Several excellent passages of play followed in the ensuing 10 minutes and the defences were well tested.
In the 12th minute, Stormers rightwing Kobus van Wyk was tackled into touch by his opposite number Bryce Heem after midfielders Damian de Allende and Juan de Jongh combined splendidly to draw the Chiefs’ defence.
Stormers flyhalf Kurt Coleman leveled scores with a 14th minute penalty, and four minutes later home side's backline again opened the Chiefs defence and this time Van Wyk found his way over the tryline. Coleman added the conversion to give his side a 10-3 lead.
A few minutes after Coleman goaled a second penalty for a 13-3 lead Chiefs snatched their first try after a fine run down the Railway Grandstand touchline by Heem who provided the scoring pass to Cruden, and the latter added the conversion (13-10).
In the final six minutes of the first half the sides managed another penalty each although Chiefs finished on a strong note and came close to cracking the Stormers defence (16-13).
Just ahead of the break, the Stormers scrumhalf Louis Schreuder took a knock to the head and was replaced by Nic Groom.
The Chiefs took the lead for the second time in the match when their leftwing James Lowe dotted down under the posts. The try came after the Stormers defence failed to check a Chiefs raid down left flank. Cruden's conversion opened up a four-point lead at 20-16 in the 47th minute.
The Stormers battled for some time to regain the initiative as they were pinned them down in their own 22m area. Eventually their set-piece came to their rescue and they were able to clear their lines without further damage.
Around on the hour mark, when the Stormers looked like could shake off the Chiefs' stranglehold on the match, they suffered a further setback with a Cruden penalty (23-16).
Demetri Catrakilis, the Storners flyhalf substitute, knocked over a 62nd minute penalty to reduce the deficit (23-19).
By this stage the Stormers had sent on their entire bench with the lone exception of backliner Huw Jones.
In the closing stages of the match, the Chiefs grew in stature and provided glimpses of the form that made them champions in recent years.
Seven minutes from the end flank Sam Cane scored an unconverted try for a 28-19 lead and at that it did not look like the Stormers could find their way back in the match.
And that’s the way it turned as the Chiefs hang on to their 28-19 lead which meant the Stormers also failed to collect a losing bonus point.
Try: Kobus van Wyk. Conversion: Kurt Coleman
Penalties: Coleman (3), Demetri Catrakilis.
Tries: Aaron Cruden, James Lowe, Sam Cane.
Conversions: Cruden (2)
Penalties: Cruden (3)