The Vodacom Stormers kept their dream of a Super 14 semi-final berth alive with a hard-fought 20-10 victory over the Brumbies at Newlands on Saturday.
It was a well-deserved win after having to dig deep into their reserves in the second half to see of a concerted fight back effort from the Brumbies.
The home team led 20-0 at halftime, but it was the visitors who took the game to the Stormers in the second half.
The Aussies had a few chances in the second half, but either brave defence or unforced errors prevented them from scoring.
The Stormers again failed to score four tries to clinch the bonus point, something that could yet count against them when the four semi-finalists are determined. They would however be happy with the victory against a team who had the better of them over the years.
They are now sitting pretty in fourth place on the log and have games against the Waratahs and the Lions (away) left.
It was the Stormers who drew first blood when Captain Fantastic, Jean de Villiers, dived over in the 11th minute.
The try came after the Stormers kicked for position, won the lineout and hooker Schalk Brits and flyhalf Peter Grant created a hole for Gcobani Bobo to scythe through.
The outside centre found his midfield partner, who had no trouble in reaching the line. Grant converted to make the score 7-0.
The Stormers made their intentions clear with a lovely counter attack in the 18th that almost ended in a try. The Brumbies attacked strongly, but Grant coolly collected the ball and launched an attack from deep inside his own territory.
Big wing Sereli Naqelevuki wreaked havoc before offloading and fullback Conrad Jantjes was the last man to receive the ball. He, however, was pushed into touch by a desperate defender.
The home side stretched the lead when Grant slotted an easy penalty in the 21st min.
A minute later Lady Luck smiled broadly on the Stormers when referee Steve Walsh had no hesitation in awarding them a penalty try. De Villiers sprinted down the right hand side touchline from the restart.
He passed the ball inside to Bobo, who was prevented from getting to the ball by Christiano Lealiifano. The flyhalf received a yellow card for his troubles.
Grant added two and suddenly the score was 17-0. The flyhalf slotted a penalty in the 27th minute to make it 20-0 – much to the delight of the home crowd.
The Brumbies got their first try in the 55th minute after a strong break by centre Tyrone Smith, whose offload to Adam Ashley-Cooper was perfect for the wing to get the five-pointer.
In the 74th the Stormers came the closest to scoring a try since the restart.
Flank Luke Watson turned a bad scrum ball into a good one when he ripped the defence wide open before offloading to substitute flyhalf Tony Brown, who just didn’t have the pace to cross the line.
Jantjes did cross the line, but Walsh ruled no try. From the ensuing scrum the Stormers again attacked strongly, but De Villiers couldn’t control the ball with the try-line begging.
He lost the ball under severe pressure from two defenders.
The Brumbies got the final score of the match when substitute lock Peter Kimlin dived over a ruck to give the Television Match Official some work in the 78th min.
Vodacom Stormers – Tries: Jean de Villiers, Penalty Try; Conversions: Peter Grant (2); Penalties: Peter Grant (2).
Brumbies – Tries: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Kimlin.