The DHL Stormers went down 52-31 against the Emirates Lions in a high-scoring Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.
It was the eighth straight game of the campaign for the DHL Stormers, with their first bye coming next week and although they scored four tries in the end they conceded eight.
The home side made a fast start to the game, with three early tries from wing Madosh Tambwe, who punished the DHL Stormers on the counter-attack.
The DHL Stormers created a number of promising attacking opportunities of their own, but were left frustrated by losing possession on the attack in the opposition 22.
A series of powerful carries saw the visitors surge into the 22 and the ball was then worked out to tighthead prop Wilco Louw, who forced his way over for a try.
The Emirates Lions responded with another counter-attack try, with centre Lionel Mapoe scoring in the corner again.
A break from Raymond Rhule in midfield put the DHL Stormers back on the front foot, with fullback SP Marais stepping up to slot a penalty.
The DHL Stormers looked to have scored a second try following a break down the blindside by captain Siya Kolisi, who put Jano Vermaak over, but the TMO ruled that the ball had been lost forward in the build-up.
The home side would have the final say in the first half, with Kwagga Smith scoring after the half-time hooter after the DHL Stormers had initially forced his team backwards.
That saw the Emirates Lions take a 31-10 advantage into the break, with the DHL Stormers needing a big effort in the second half.
The hosts struck first in the second half with a try from lock Franco Mostert and they followed that up as Tambwe got over for his fourth to make it 45-10 with 30 minutes left.
The DHL Stormers hit back as the forwards took it close from a strong maul before Damian Willemse spun out of a tackle to score.
The Emirates Lions responded with a try from wing Ruan Combrinck, but to their credit the DHL Stormers continued to give everything and were eventually rewarded with a try from replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet after some magic footwork from Raymond Rhule created a linebreak.
The DHL Stormers finished the game as the dominant team, pushing hard in the final stages for a fourth try, and they were eventually awarded a penalty try to make the final score 52-31.
For DHL Stormers:
Tries: Louw, Willemse, De Wet, penalty try
Cons: Marais 2, Willemse
For Emirates Lions:
Tries: Tambwe 4, Mapoe, Smith, Mostert, Combrinck
Cons: Jantjies 6
DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jaco Coetzee, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Craig Barry.
Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert (captain), 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Corné Fourie, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.