There was no separating the DHL Stormers and the Vodacom Bulls in an entertaining pre-season encounter in Wellington, which ended in a 26-26 deadlock.
Both teams scored four tries and kicked three conversions in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Boland Stadium on Saturday.
The teams got stuck right into each other from the word go, with some big hits on both sides in a bruising opening 10 minutes.
The Vodacom Bulls struck first with a try from flank Roelof Smit, who broke off a maul to score, following some resolute defence from the DHL Stormers.
The DHL Stormers got into their work and made some forays into opposition territory in search of a response.
They would go level as some slick hands from Damian de Allende and Chris van Zyl saw EW Viljoen race over for a try, which was converted from out wide by Damian Willemse.
The teams looked set to go into the break deadlocked at 7-7, but the Vodacom Bulls grabbed the lead back on the stroke of half-time with a try from scrumhalf Andre Warner.
The DHL Stormers were back on level terms early in the second half, with Cobus Wiese crashing over from an attacking line-out to make it 14-14.
The Vodacom Bulls responded soon afterwards when they were awarded a try in the corner, which gave them a 19-14 advantage.
However, the DHL Stormers would hit the front for the first time in the game with a try from Craig Barry which saw the forwards do plenty of hard work hammering away at the Vodacom Bulls’ tryline before it was sent wide to the finisher.
The DHL Stormers had their tails up and continued to pile the pressure on the Vodacom Bulls defence. It was not long before they had a fourth try with replacement George Whitehead putting in a pinpoint cross-kick for flank Johan du Toit, who scored in the corner.
However, the Vodacom Bulls were back on level terms with a try from scrumhalf Embrose Papier, which left the teams deadlocked at 26-26 on the final whistle.
For DHL Stormers:
Tries: Viljoen, Wiese, Barry, Du Toit
Cons: Willemse 2, Whitehead
For Vodacom Bulls:
Tries: Smit, Warner, Strauss, Papier
Cons: Boshoff 2, Libbok
DHL Stormers squad:
Forwards: Jaco Coetzee, Jan de Klerk, Stephan de Wit, Johan du Toit, JC Janse van Rensberg, Steven Kitshoff, Wilco Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, Salmaan Moerat, Carlu Sadie, Ramone Samuels, JD Schickerling, Chris van Zyl, Kobus van Dyk, Cobus Wiese.
Backs: Craig Barry, Damian de Allende, Dewaldt Duvenage, Dan Kriel, Eduan Keyter, Dillyn Leyds, Justin Phillips, Sergeal Petersen, Raymond Rhule, Josh Stander, EW Viljoen, George Whitehead, Damian Willemse.
Vodacom Bulls squad: Divan Rossouw, Andell Loubser, Johnny Kotze, Burger Odendaal, Duncan Matthews, Marnitz Boshoff, Andre Warner, Jano Venter, Hanro Liebenberg, Roelof Smit, RG Snyman, Ruben van Heerden, Conraad van Vuuren, Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Lizo Gqoboka, Frans van Wyk, Lood de Jager, Marco van Staden, Thembelani Bholi, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok