The DHL Stormers were not able to avoid a 57-14 defeat against a determined Highlanders side in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash in Dunedin on Friday.
The visitors scored a try in each half, but struggled to contain an impressive Highlanders outfit who produced some good rugby in front of their home crowd at the Forsyth-Barr Stadium.
It was the third defeat of the season for the DHL Stormers, who now head for Wellington looking to end their tour to New Zealand on a high against the Hurricanes.
The DHL Stormers made an encouraging start to the game and would be first to score as captain Siya Kolisi broke the line outwide before getting an offload away to Nizaam Carr who went over for the try.
The Highlannders responded with a try from wing Patrick Osborne to level the scores up at 7-7 after a breathless opening period.
The home side followed that up with a try from right wing Waisake Naholo before Osborne grabbed his brace and when Liam Squire went over from a driving maul the DHL Stormers were right up against it.
Trailing 31-7 at half-time the DHL Stormers came out and took the game to the opposition in the second half, but were unable to find the finishing touch as the Highlanders defence soaked up the pressure.
Naholo got his second try from a counter-attack that was sparked in their own 22, and although they lost replacement prop Aki Seiuli for 10 minutes to a yellow card for a high tackle, that did not seem to slow the Highlanders down.
Dillon Hunt and Greg Pleasants-Tate each got over for a try before the DHL Stormers hit back with a try of their own from replacement scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage, but the Highlanders would have the final say as Matt Faddes scored a late try to seal the win.
For DHL Stormers:
Tries: Carr, Duvenage
Cons: Du Preez 2
Tries: Osborne 2, Naholo 2, Squire, Hunt, Pleasants-Tate, Faddes
Cons: Banks 5,
DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Jan de Klerk, 4 Eben Etzebeth (vice-captain), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Shaun Treeby, 23 Bjorn Basson.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes.