The DHL Stormers showed incredible character to claim a hard-fought 23-19 win against the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The win sees them consolidate their second place on the overall Vodacom United Rugby Championship standings, 13 points clear of the Pretoria side in the South African Shield.
The first half was a typically tough affair, with the home side running up an early lead from the kicking tee before the DHL Stormers hit back with the only try in the first 40 minutes to take a one-point lead into the break.
The home side opened the scoring with a penalty from flyhalf Chris Smith, who kicked three more in the first half.
The DHL Stormers kicked two penalties of their own through Manie Libbok, but the well-taken try was enough to give them a 13-12 advantage at the break.
A long pass from the base of the ruck from scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies found an unmarked Marcel Theunissen and the No.8 galloped over in the corner for a try which was converted from out wide by Libbok.
The second try came as the result of a counter-attack, with the forwards showing good composure to drive replacement Junior Pokomela over to take the lead out to eight points.
The Vodacom Bulls were right back in it when wing S’bu Nkosi scored to make it a one-point game again.
The DHL Stormers had the final say when Libbok slotted a late drop-goal and although they had to hold on under pressure at the death, it was enough to seal the win.
For DHL Stormers:
Tries: Theunissen, Pokomela
Cons: Libbok 2
Pens: Libbok 2
For Vodacom Bulls:
Pens: Smith 4
DHL Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Marcel Theunissen, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 Gary Porter, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Junior Pokomela, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.
Vodacom Bulls: David Kriel, Cornal Hendricks, Wandisile Simelane, Harold Vorster, Sbu Nkosi; Chris Smith, Zak Burger; Elrigh Louw, Cyle Brink, Marco van Staden, Ruan Nortje (capt), Jacques du Plessis, Mornay Smith, Johan Grobbelaar, Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Simphiwe Matanzima, Francois Klopper, Ruan Vermaak, Nizaam Carr, Embrose Papier, Morne Steyn, Lionel Mapoe.